RI Spending Transparency Needs Work, Report Says

Mar 27, 2013

For the second year in a row, Rhode Island has gotten a D minus for government spending transparency on the state website. The state was ranked 45th out of the 50 states.

The report – titled ‘Following the Money 2013’ – was published by the Rhode Island Public Interest Research Group, or RIPIRG. It compared financial transparency data on all 50 state websites and found Rhode Island’s wanting. It gave the state a D minus for the second consecutive year. RIPIRG report co-author Ryan Pierannunzi describes where it comes up short:

"One of the big things that Rhode Island was missing was it didn’t have any information on economic development tax credits," Pierannunzi explains, "so any money spent through tax credit programs, it didn’t provide any information on the specific amounts that were going to specific recipients."

Pierannunzi says the state also fails to provide adequate financial information on quasi governmental agencies such as the Rhode Island Airport Corporation and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority.  The state launched a website in January providing access to contracts, expenditures and performance data. Quasi-governmental agencies have yet to be added to that site.