Louisiana recognized for transparency websites | Business
For the second straight year, Louisiana state government’s transparency and accountability website and online state spending database (LaTrac) tied for fourth best in the nation according to a report released today by the United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), based on its “ranking of states’ progress toward ‘Transparency 2.0’ – a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.”
According to the report: “Government spending transparency websites that meet the standard of ‘Transparency 2.0’ give citizens and government officials the ability to monitor many aspects of state spending – saving money, preventing corruption, and encouraging the achievement of a wide variety of public policy goals.”
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater said, “With more states joining the transparency initiative, I’m proud that our continual improvements have helped make sure Louisiana maintains its status as a national leader in providing taxpayers the type of comprehensive and easily accessible information that holds government accountable.”
In Following the Money 2012: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, researchers at U.S. PIRG graded all 50 states on how well they provide online access to information about government spending. States were given “A” to “F” grades based on the characteristics of the online transparency systems they have created to provide information on contracts, subsidies and spending at quasi-public agencies.
Louisiana was one of only seven states to score a grade in the “A” range, which, according to the report, “have established user-friendly transparency portals that contain comprehensive information on government expenditures [so that] citizens and watchdog groups can use the sites to monitor government spending quickly and easily.”
Louisiana was also included among states receiving special recognition for unique features of their transparency websites:
Some states have gone above and beyond standard Transparency 2.0 features. They have developed new tools and posted new sets of information on government expenditures, giving residents the unprecedented ability to monitor and influence how their government allocates resources.
Performance trackers: Louisiana’s Performance Accountability System has taken the lead on providing detailed performance evaluations of government agencies by listing specific agencies’ yearly objectives (e.g., “increase the annual number of visitors served by the state park system to at least 2,500,000 by the end of fiscal year 2012-2013”), along with their actual performance.
The creation of LaTrac was first set in motion by Governor Bobby Jindal, through an executive order (BJ 2008-2) issued on his first full day in office in January 2008, and authorized by legislation (Act 20) during the 2008 special legislative session on ethics reform. LaTrac, which can be accessed at www.latrac.la.gov, launched in November of 2008 and since then has undergone several upgrades, with new features added.
U.S. PIRG’s full 73-page report can be found online at: http://www.uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/Following%20the%20Money%20vUS%20WEB.pdf