When it comes to state spending, it's important that taxpayers know exactly how their dollars are being used. The Indiana General Assembly is committed to that idea, and now, others are taking notice.
A recent study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group ranked Indiana number one in spending transparency, based on the state’s website, the Indiana Transparency Portal. Last year, for the first time ever, every state in the nation had a website that detailed its expenditures, and Indiana's was the most transparent.
Only eight states received A-grades for their transparency websites. Even more concerning, nine states earned D's, and three states received failing grades.
This recognition follows several measures to establish fiscal accountability in Indiana:
• In 2011, the General Assembly established Indiana's transparency portal through House Enrolled Act 1004. This required the state to post a listing of its expenditures, fund balances and state-owned property with values greater than $20,000. Financial data related to public schools and political subdivisions was also to be included.
• A 2013 law – Senate Enrolled Act 162 – created a similar website for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. IEDC is now required to collect information on companies receiving economic incentives, including the number of jobs the business expects to create, the number of jobs it actually creates and any claimed tax credits. It must also include a compliance report to certify each organization is in agreement with the IEDC incentive contract.
• This past legislative session, the General Assembly approved Senate Enrolled Act 106, requiring local governments to disclose information on their fiscal health. This includes data on school corporations and other political subdivisions, which will be published on the Indiana Transparency Portal.
These laws and Indiana’s high marks for transparency further underscore our state’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and accountability to its taxpayers. A strong foundation in transparency will continue to help Indiana make practical, common-sense improvements for our state as a whole.
For more information on the transparency study, click here.