Transparency.Ohio.Gov Graded “0” For Failure to Show Tax Expenditures Online

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (or USPIRG – I love PIRGs) came out yesterday with its report, Following The Money 2011: How The 50 States Rate In Providing Online Access To Government Spending Data. Ohio barely escaped settling in with the majority of states and received a “B-” or just 82 points.  And this is based on USPIRG doing its data gathering in 2011 (see p.43 of the full report), not 2010, with a February 14, 2011 deadline for submission of information.

Where does the Ohio government fail to be transparent? You can look here and see that Ohio lost points as follows:

Downloadable – 0 out of 2

Previous fiscal year info – 3 out of 5

Information on Tax Expenditures – 0 out of 10

Expenditures from quasi-public agencies – 0 out of 2

Financial information on local government – 0 out of 2

Total deducation from possible 100 total: 18 points

However, to give credit where credit is due, the report indicates that they gave full credit on the Economic and Development Incentives and Grants criteria (see p.53):

Ohio: … (2) Received ten points for “Economic  Development Incentives and Grants” because the website has program and recipient-specific grant and economic development incentive information that allows a visitor to determine the purpose of the incentive (can be found at its tax incentive database here: development.ohio.gov/HB1/Default2.aspx). In addition to this, the website provides information about outcome data that allows the visitor to determine the number of jobs created from a specific incentive.

Just who is in charge of Transparency.Ohio.Gov? According to USPIRG, it’s Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office (see p.57).  Interestingly, that information is not disclosed on Ohio’s transparency website itself, at least not in any place I could find it, so I’ve sent an email through the site’s contact form. I’ll let you know if that’s accurate.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that that is in fact incorrect information in the USPIRG report (and that moved me to then ask the contact for whatever other comment and/or information they may have regarding their opinion or response to the PIRG’s release).  According to Dan Kaman at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, it is DAS that is in charge of Transparency.Ohio.Gov.

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