TOPEKA: A national organization focused on government transparency has given high marks to the State of Kansas for its efforts to make significant upgrades to its KanView online financial data portal.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund gave Kansas a “B” ranking in its latest report, “Following the Money 2015: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data.” This is the sixth such report by the organization.
“Budget transparency is becoming a clear priority among the states, as shown by some of the dramatic improvements we’ve seen in this year’s study,” said Phineas Baxandall, Senior Analyst with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.
States were judged on a 100-point system by U.S. PIRG and the organization took note of how the KanView site was improved with addition of keyword search functions, downloadable data and a page that details the information excluded from the website.
Department of Administration Secretary Jim Clark said he was pleased that U.S. PIRG had recognized the commitment Kansas has made to government transparency and making the necessary improvements to increase public trust in the accounting of taxpayer dollars.
“This year’s grade is a reflection to the increased collaboration between agencies and dedicated employees who were dedicated to improving KanView,” Clark said. “Taxpayers deserve a system that presents government’s spending practices in a manner that is easy to view and easy to understand.”
Kansas was one of 18 states earning a “B” ranking, categorized as an “advancing state.” Ohio led the nation with an “A+” rating, while three states earned “F” rankings for failure to provide any financial information.
In discussing the state’s efforts, U.S. PIRG took note of the redesigned website that makes it easier for the public to download information for review, as well as additional links to information regarding economic development incentives.
“Providing such clear, program-specific webpages and data just a mouse click away from the homepage makes critical information regarding millions in taxpayer-supported spending easily accessible to the public,” the report concluded.
The complete report can be found at http://uspirg.org/reports/usp/following-money-2015. The state’s KanView site can be found at http://kanview.ks.gov/.