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article imageOp-Ed: Best and worst state standings in stimulus money transparency.

By Richard Bass     Aug 8, 2009 in Politics
Illinois, Utah, and Kentucky score dead last in a state ranking of stimulus transparency with 0 out of a possible 100 points in an ARRA website audit for transparency of stimulus funds use.
A non-partisan watchdog group Good Jobs First conducted a study to determine which states ranked best in their overall transparency of stimulus money use in July of this year. Only six states scored 50 or better for their main ARRA site(American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). The top score was awarded to Maryland with 80 out of a possible 100 points, followed by Colorado 68, Washington 63, West Virginia 60, New York 53, and Pennsylvania with 50.
Good Jobs First's study also found that only thirteen states scored 50 or better for their highway reporting. Here again Maryland was awarded the top score of 75 followed by Washington with 73, Colorado 65, Nebraska 60, California and New York tied at 58, Florida and Oregon tied at 55, Arkansas, Connecticut, and Idaho tied at 53, with Idaho and Iowa tied at 50 points.
Obama made a pledge to change the way state and federal governments ran their respective jurisdictions with better, more transparent policies. One might have thought that Illinois who scored a ZERO out of a possible 200 combined points in their ARRA website and ARRA Highway reporting scores would have strived to do better considering one of their own was sitting as the CIC. Illinois and Chicago in particular have had a long standing reputation of corruption. The Illinois Policy Institute acknowledges this and further states their embarrassment with the following:
"The site, Illinois Recovery, fails to achieve the promised pledge of “an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability” Barack Obama made when passing the stimulus. In fact, the site fails to achieve transparency on even a basic level, lacking specific information on stimulus spending for state projects.
By failing to track stimulus spending and maintain transparent records in line with national norms, Illinois has demonstrated its lack of commitment to good, open government.
Illinois is already known nationwide for government corruption and lack of transparency; this embarrassing report only furthers this negative perception
Considering the statement above that Obama made for “an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability” and further stresses, Accountability and Transparency section :
."We cannot overstate the importance of this effort. We are asking the American people to trust their government with an unprecedented level of funding to address the economic emergency. In return, we must prove to them that their dollars are being invested in initiatives and strategies that make a difference in their communities and across the country."
And goes on further to say:
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has made it clear that every taxpayer dollar spent on our economic recovery must be subject to unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability."
Some people might wonder why Obama has not pressured his home state and city of his pollitical upbringing to strive to be the leader in enacting the transparency and accountability act. Granted that Obama can't and shouldn't be held accountable for the non action and blatant act of defiance in cooperating with stimulus transparencey, he can and should be questioned about his lack of addressing the acts of Illinois and their failure to inform the citizenry of the state and country alike of how their tax dollars are being spent! It is in my honest oppinion that Obama has a duty to hold each state accountable for not divulging pertinant information on how, when.where, and to whom stimulus money is going to and being spent.
We can add this lack of accountability and transparency as just another Hope and Change campaign promise that was only half heartedly made unless he is willing to step up and demand action from states that refuse to even try to inform the citizens of how their hard earned tax dollars are being used.
Click below to see how your state ranked and more details about the study.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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