Report: Phoenix gets 'D' for spending transparency - WNEM TV 5

Report: Phoenix gets 'D' for spending transparency

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A report by a public interest group gives Phoenix a "D" for how well the city publicly provides data about city spending and revenues in an online transparency website.

The report, Transparency in City Spending: Rating the Availability of Online Government Data in America's Largest Cities, reviews and grades the nation's 30 largest cities on how effectively they allow the public to track budgets, contracting, subsidies, grants and requests for quality-of-life services. [Click here to read the full report (PDF)]

"Unfortunately, Phoenix doesn't give its residents the same level of detail about city spending that many other major cities provide," said Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

The grade of "D" reflects that Phoenix lacks a central transparency website with checkbook-level detail on city expenditures. The report recommends making checkbook-level expenditure information accessible in a way that does not require users to read through individual contracts and that the information is downloadable for data analysis.

"Taxpayers deserve to know in detail, not in the abstract, how Phoenix is spending tax dollars," said Dr. Byron Schlomach, the Director of the Goldwater Institute's Center for Economic Prosperity. "It's time to lift the veil on local government spending by placing this information online."

The report comes shortly after the requirement that local governments in Arizona have comprehensive transparency websites operational by Jan. 1, 2013.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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