Ohio does a poor job of providing online transparency when it comes to government spending, a watchdog group says in a report released Tuesday.
The state received a “D+” — one of only 12 states to receive a “D” or “F” grade — in the annual report by the Ohio Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. Ohio’s grade improved from last year’s “D.”
“We could have done a lot better,” said Tabitha Woodruff, an advocate for the Ohio watchdog group. “There is an improvement … but it still leaves us as one of the lagging states. So, very disappointing.”
She added that Ohioans are demanding transparency, so it should be a greater priority.
The report, called Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, reviewed the Ohio website http://transparency.ohio.gov.
It says the site provides checkbook-level information on contracts, economic development tax credits and grants. But it lacks other details such as noncontract payments to vendors and spending through some agencies.
Other states provide such information, Woodruff said.
She added that both Republican and Democratic-run states fared equally well so transparency isn’t a partisan issue.
Texas received the top score. North Dakota was the worst.
“It’s tough to take too seriously concerns about transparency from a group whose donors appear to be kept secret from the public,” said Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Gov. John Kasich.
To read the full report, go to: www.ohiopirg.org.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.