Dead last: Report ranks Idaho No. 50 in online spending transparency

When it comes to providing spending data online, Idaho is the worst.

That’s the conclusion from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group.

The group rated the states on their online databases. And while PIRG senior analyst Phineas Baxandall said “most states still have a lot of room for improvement,” that is especially true for Idaho.

One of five states to “earn” a failing grade, Idaho earned only six out of a possible 100 points.

According to the report, failing states such as Idaho “have transparency portals or other spending information sites that are not checkbook-level and provide limited or superficial information about government expenditures. … These states have little information beyond copies of pre-purchase orders that allow citizens to monitor whether or not a government department would be overpaying for a certain good or service if they purchased this way.”

Idaho has a list of open state contracts available online. An online checkbook has been a point of disagreement in past legislative sessions. Controller Donna Jones has pushed for posting the checkbook, but legislative budget-writers have balked at the $250,000 cost.

One Western state that did earn an A-minus from PIRG, Arizona, created a transparency site for $72,000 in startup costs (plus existing staff time). The annual costs for the site are $90,000, according to the PIRG report.

PIRG released its transparency report in conjunction with Sunshine Week, a national campaign organized by media and public interest groups to highlight the value of open government.

Get Twitter updates on my blog and column and Statesman editorials. Become a follower. You can also get updates on Facebook's Idaho Statesman Opinion Page.

Thank you

I have been complaining about this for years to the deaf legislature. The Idaho taxpayers have no idea where their money is being spent or on what.

Schools

School Districts are at the top of the list.

Speculation?

Your comment sounds like speculation and general ill-regard towards school districts to me. I didn't find anywhere in the report that pointed to school districts being at the top of any list that lead to Idaho being ranked dead last. In fact, it would appear that EVERY SINGLE AGENCY in Idaho is at the top of your magical list, as none of them have data available. They're ALL guilty.

Can't wait Richert 'til MNI sells the Statesman & you get booted

Your (typical) "discovery" of the blindingly obvious about Idaho state government is many days late (like years, Dude) and many, many dollars short. At some point, even a dysfuctional operation like McClatchy's is going to have to triage their holdings, and somebody (Cowles? Vandersloot? Hagadone? whomever) is going to make them (errr..their bankers) an offer they can't refuse. When that day arrives you should already be long gone.

What's your beef?

At least someone is reporting this stuff. Your rant makes you sounds like a veiled apologist for the state while making the reporter a martyr.

Where are the Tea People?

I thought this was the sort of thing you Tea People were on top of. I guess the crux of your anger has nothing to do with government spending and everything to do with the skin tone of the man occupying the White House.

Skin tone?

What do you say to black men and women who side with the Tea Party? Oh wait, I forgot, Libs don't believe such a person exists.

YEEEHAW!

Idassippi does it again! Butchism reigns!

Except...

Except in this case Mississippi scored 80 points and ranked in the top 50%. The new catchphrase will go something like this: over half of all people polled think Obama is a Muslim and 2/3 don't believe in evolution? The south is becoming the new Idaho.