Indiana earns top grade for government transparency

2014-04-10T17:30:00Z 2014-04-10T18:00:28Z Indiana earns top grade for government transparencyBy Dan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | Indiana leads the nation in state government transparency on a report card issued this week by the nonpartisan U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

The state's online transparency portal -- www.in.gov/itp -- received top marks forĀ having checkbook-level detail of state agency spending, posting state business incentive contracts and making government data easily downloadable.

Indiana's 94 percent score across 19 transparency categories was highest among the 50 states and good for an A- grade. Illinois earned a B+ from the group. Just three states -- Idaho, Alaska and California -- rated an F.

"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 recipients of public subsidies accountable," said Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst at the research group.

For example, with just a few clicks on the Indiana website, any Hoosier can see the February electric bill for the Governor's Residence was $2,744.50, the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City spends about $2,000 every two weeks for trash removal and state Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage collected $3,385.94 in mileage reimbursement since July.

Republican State Auditor Suzanne Crouch, who manages the transparency portal, urged Hoosiers to take advantage of the wealth of data at their fingertips.

"It is crucial that Hoosiers know exactly how Indiana is spending taxpayer money," Crouch said. "Our government's business should be open and accessible to the public in order to ensure trust and confidence in our finances."

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