State Ranked Second in Nation in ‘Following the Money 2016’ Report

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s efforts to make its spending more transparent have been recognized, as the state received an A+ in the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s (PIRG) “Following the Money 2016: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data” report.

“Transparency and accountability in government are important,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “This improved grade shows that our teams are doing the right things to get more information to the people of Michigan in ways they can find truly useful.”

Michigan was the most improved state this year, rising from a B+ score of 87 in 2015 to a score of 100. Ranked second, behind Ohio in first place, Michigan is one of only five states in the nation to receive an A+.

“Governor Snyder is committed to making state government transparent and ensuring that state spending is more transparent is a key step toward that goal,” said State Budget Director John Roberts. “These improvements to Open Michigan allow residents to learn more about how their taxpayer dollars are spent.”

“I’m proud of the support that DTMB’s web team was able to provide the State Budget Office,” said Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget Director and Chief Information Officer David Behen.  “This exceptional grade is validation that the work we’ve done thus far is moving the needle in government clarity. I look forward to continuing our efforts to improve the state’s transparency online.”

According to PIRG, Michigan’s upgraded rank was due to improvements that streamlined its transpar­ency data and added functionality to its transparency website, including allow­ing those interested to download data sets into commonly used data formats.

PIRG’s report said that, “By allowing for such bulk downloads, the state makes it easier for researchers, citi­zen watchdogs and reporters to analyze the spending data and track spending patterns.”

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund is an independent, nonpartisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Officials from 43 states provided the researchers with feedback on their initial evaluation of state transparency websites.

To download a copy of the 2016 report, visit: www.uspirgedfund.org/reports/usf/following-money-2016


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