By Becca Heller
According to a report by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Maryland received a C grade for transparency in government spending this year. The grade, which is based on the state’s transparency website, is a half step down from last year’s C+.
The drop in grade is reflective of PIRG’s increasingly tough grading standards, and, according to the report: “in order for states to keep up with rising standards and maintain high scores, they must continually improve transparency.”
PIRG identifies the best transparency tools as being engaging, easily searchable, and comprehensive. The inaccessibility of Maryland’s website likely led to its less-than-perfect C grade.
“The state of Maryland should improve the breadth and ease-of-access of online government spending information,” said Jenny Levin, State Advocate with Maryland PIRG Foundation, in a statement. “Given our state budget problems, Marylanders need to be able to follow the money.”
States leading Maryland in their transparency efforts include: Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Oklahoma.
“State governments across the country have become more transparent about where public money goes, providing citizens with the information they need to hold elected officials and businesses that receive public funds accountable,” said Levin. “But Maryland still has a long way to go.”