Taxpayer Safeguards

ARIZONA EARNS HIGH MARKS FOR TRANSPARENCY—Over the past few years, Arizona has gone from earning an “F” to earning an “B“ for government spending transparency, yet there is still room for improvement.

ARIZONA AT HEAD OF REPORTING SPENDING

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, and promotes fiscal responsibility.

In 2010, Arizona’s Department of Administration created a new transparency website called OpenBooks.az.gov. This website allows residents to monitor most state expenditures at the checkbook level.

The state can still do more to shine light on its expenditures. While the website tracks some subsidies in the form of grants and tax credits — and in some cases shows the number of jobs and investments that companies are expected to deliver — many subsidy programs lack this detail and no information is provided on the amount of tax credits given to individual companies.

Arizona decision makers should require comprehensive information on economic subsidies is added to this website.

TRANSPARENCY 2.0 STANDARDS

Today, you can go online to track packages in the mail, check your cell phone minutes, and compare real estate prices nationwide. Yet government spending continues to be analog. What we're calling Transparency 2.0 is a new standard of comprehensive, online one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.

The following are the Transparency 2.0 standards for comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility:

Comprehensive: A user-friendly Web portal provides residents the ability to search detailed information about government contracts, spending, subsidies, and tax expenditures for all government entities.

One-Stop: Residents can search all government expenditures on a single website.

One-Click Searchable: Residents can search data with a single query or browse common-sense categories. Residents can sort data on government spending by recipient, amount, legislative district, granting agency, purpose, or keyword. Residents can also download data to conduct detailed off-line analyses.

Issue updates

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Arizona Receives a ‘B’ in Annual Report on Government Spending Transparency

Arizona received a ‘B’ when it comes to government spending transparency, according to the fourth annual report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data. Arizona’s official state transparency website, OpenBooks, received an ‘A-’ in last year’s report.

> Keep Reading
Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2013

This report, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s fourth annual evaluation of state transparency websites, finds that states are closer than ever before to meeting the standards of “Transparency 2.0” – encompassing, one-stop, one-click checkbook transparency and accountability. However, many states, including Arizona, still have a long way to go to provide taxpayers with the information they need to ensure that government is spending their money effectively.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Phoenix Receives a Grade of “D” for Spending Transparency

Phoenix received a grade of “D” for spending transparency, according to a new report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. The report reviewed how well the thirty largest cities in the U.S. – including Phoenix - publicly provide data about city spending and revenues in an online transparency website.

> Keep Reading
Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Transparency in City Spending

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, improves responsiveness, and promotes greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility. Cities across the country have been moving toward making their checkbooks transparent by creating transparency portals and posting recipient-specific spending data online.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Transparency Shortcomings of Arizona Commerce Authority Cited in New Report

A new report released by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, Shining a Light on the Arizona Commerce Authority, examines how transparent the Arizona Commerce Authority has been with the grant and tax credit programs it oversees.

> Keep Reading

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Arizona Receives a ‘B’ in Annual Report on Government Spending Transparency

Arizona received a ‘B’ when it comes to government spending transparency, according to the fourth annual report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data. Arizona’s official state transparency website, OpenBooks, received an ‘A-’ in last year’s report.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Phoenix Receives a Grade of “D” for Spending Transparency

Phoenix received a grade of “D” for spending transparency, according to a new report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. The report reviewed how well the thirty largest cities in the U.S. – including Phoenix - publicly provide data about city spending and revenues in an online transparency website.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Transparency Shortcomings of Arizona Commerce Authority Cited in New Report

A new report released by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, Shining a Light on the Arizona Commerce Authority, examines how transparent the Arizona Commerce Authority has been with the grant and tax credit programs it oversees.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Budget

Yuma Sun: Transparency necessary for good governing

Last week, the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) gave our state government an A-minus for providing online access to spending data. PIRG, which bills itself as a consumer protection group, surveyed 47 states regarding their financial openness and said Arizona was a leader in the nation.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Arizona Ranks Near Top of States for Transparency of Government Spending

Arizona continues to be a leading state in government spending transparency, according to an annual report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. For the second year in a row, Arizona received an A– in the report based on its official state transparency website, OpenBooks.

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Result | Budget

Budget Transparency Earns High Marks

The Arizona PIRG Education Fund worked with the State Comptroller to ensure some of the best practices in budget transparency websites were brought to Arizona. Due in part to our recommendations, Arizona moved from the bottom into the top five state websites for showing taxpayers how our money is spent.

 

> Keep Reading
Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2013

This report, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s fourth annual evaluation of state transparency websites, finds that states are closer than ever before to meeting the standards of “Transparency 2.0” – encompassing, one-stop, one-click checkbook transparency and accountability. However, many states, including Arizona, still have a long way to go to provide taxpayers with the information they need to ensure that government is spending their money effectively.

> Keep Reading
Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Transparency in City Spending

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, improves responsiveness, and promotes greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility. Cities across the country have been moving toward making their checkbooks transparent by creating transparency portals and posting recipient-specific spending data online.

> Keep Reading
Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Shining a Light on the Arizona Commerce Authority

Arizonans deserve to know how their taxpayer dollars are spent – including when their tax dollars are given as subsidies to corporations. However, more than a year after the creation of the Arizona Commerce Authority – the new state entity responsible for distributing the state’s economic development subsidies – the Commerce Authority discloses information online for only a portion of its economic development funds.

> Keep Reading
Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2012

This report is the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s third annual ranking of states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0”—a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility. The past year has seen continued progress, with new states providing online access to government spending information and several states pioneering new tools to further expand citizens’ access to spending information and engagement with government.

> Keep Reading
Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead

Privatized traffic law enforcement systems are spreading rapidly across the United States, but the public interest is threatened when private camera companies and municipalities focus on ticket revenues first and safety second.

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