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Alabama Ranked High Among States on Spending Transparency

April 13, 2010

MONTGOMERY – Only seven states score higher than Alabama in providing online access to government spending, according to a report evaluating states’ efforts at government transparency.

The report, called “Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” was done by the California Public Interest Research Group. [Link:]

Early last year, Governor Bob Riley signed an executive order that created a searchable website that details spending done by state government. That website,, includes the state’s checkbook, monthly financial reports and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of state government.

In addition, the website includes all active statewide contracts, a database of all leases held by state departments, links to notices filed under the Alabama Open Meetings Act and campaign finance reports, and information on the Riley Administration’s SMART Governing initiative. SMART Governing requires state agencies to link their budget requests to measurable objectives.

The report says the group deducted points from Alabama’s score because the state’s transparency website does not include information about spending by local governments and because information about active contracts is in PDF form only.

“When you consider that a little more than a year ago Alabama had no spending website and today we’re in the top 10 when it comes to transparency, that’s quite an accomplishment,” said Governor Riley. “Every time we make government more transparent, we make it more honest and accountable to the people it serves. Every time we open up the books and tell taxpayers how their money is being spent, we make it harder for politicians to waste those dollars or spend them dishonestly.”

Spending done by K-12 school systems and Alabama’s public colleges and universities is also disclosed online, however the group apparently did not take those disclosures into account in its rankings.

Top 10 States in Spending Transparency

State - Grade / Score

Kentucky - A / 97

Ohio - B / 84

Illinois - B / 82

Minnesota - B / 82

Texas - B / 82

Missouri - B / 81

Pennsylvania - B / 81

Alabama - C / 79

Hawaii - C / 79

Nevada - C / 78


For more information, contact the Governor’s Press Office at 334-242-7150.

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