States improve transparency of Recovery Act spending

Watchdog group ranks all 50 states in how well they are tracking stimulus law funding

State governments in Kentucky, Illinois, Minnesota and Utah made the most dramatic progress in reporting their federal economic stimulus spending online in the last six months, according to a new report from the Good Jobs First nonprofit research group.

In comparison to a previous evaluation in July 2009, Kentucky rose to 2nd place from 47th, Illinois climbed to 7th place from 50th, Minnesota jumped to 4th place from 34th, and Utah went to 24th place from 50th, according to the report. Maryland topped the list for the second year.

The research group reviewed state Web sites that reported American Recovery and Reinvestment Act spending and graded them from 1 to 100. About $200 billion from the economic stimulus law was distributed to states.

The states with the highest scores in the new report are Maryland (87), Kentucky (85), Connecticut (80), Colorado (72) and Minnesota (72).

Eleven states scored below 20, including North Dakota (5), District of Columbia (6), Missouri (10), Alaska (13), Vermont (13), Louisiana (16), Mississippi (17), Idaho (18), Oklahoma (18), Texas (18) and South Carolina (19).

“Some states are making great strides in fulfilling President Obama’s promise that the Recovery Act would be carried out with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability,” said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy in a news release.

The state Web sites are linked with Recovery.gov, which is the federal government’s Web site for tracking economic stimulus law spending. Congress and the Obama administration approved $787 billion in stimulus allocations a year ago to boost the economy; a portion of the money went for information-technology projects, including energy smart grids, broadband development and health IT.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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