Taxpayer Safeguards

ARIZONA EARNS HIGH MARKS FOR TRANSPARENCY—Over the past few years, Arizona has gone from earning an “F” to earning an “B“ for government spending transparency, yet there is still room for improvement.

ARIZONA AT HEAD OF REPORTING SPENDING

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, and promotes fiscal responsibility.

In 2010, Arizona’s Department of Administration created a new transparency website called OpenBooks.az.gov. This website allows residents to monitor most state expenditures at the checkbook level.

The state can still do more to shine light on its expenditures. While the website tracks some subsidies in the form of grants and tax credits — and in some cases shows the number of jobs and investments that companies are expected to deliver — many subsidy programs lack this detail and no information is provided on the amount of tax credits given to individual companies.

Arizona decision makers should require comprehensive information on economic subsidies is added to this website.

TRANSPARENCY 2.0 STANDARDS

Today, you can go online to track packages in the mail, check your cell phone minutes, and compare real estate prices nationwide. Yet government spending continues to be analog. What we're calling Transparency 2.0 is a new standard of comprehensive, online one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.

The following are the Transparency 2.0 standards for comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility:

Comprehensive: A user-friendly Web portal provides residents the ability to search detailed information about government contracts, spending, subsidies, and tax expenditures for all government entities.

One-Stop: Residents can search all government expenditures on a single website.

One-Click Searchable: Residents can search data with a single query or browse common-sense categories. Residents can sort data on government spending by recipient, amount, legislative district, granting agency, purpose, or keyword. Residents can also download data to conduct detailed off-line analyses.

Issue updates

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2012

This report is the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s third annual ranking of states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0”—a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility. The past year has seen continued progress, with new states providing online access to government spending information and several states pioneering new tools to further expand citizens’ access to spending information and engagement with government.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Budget

Arizona Republic: Arizona receives top grade for online transparency about state spending

Arizona is one of seven states to receive a top grade for providing online information about government spending. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund graded Arizona an A- for its OpenBooks website, maintained by the state Department of Administration.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Watchdog Group Gives Some Praise, Suggestions for Transparency in Commerce Authority

One year after Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation officially creating the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund examined the transparency and accountability of the Commerce Authority thus far.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Arizona Receives Mediocre Grade for Enforcement of Job-Creation Measures in Subsidy Programs

Arizona received a ‘C’ grade in a new report that examined how well states enforced their own requirements for job creation in their major economic development subsidy programs.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Problems Identified with Growing Trend of Red-Light and Speed Cameras

A new report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund outlines problems with the growing trend among cities in Arizona and across the country to outsource traffic enforcement to red-light and speed camera vendors.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Problems Identified with Growing Trend of Red-Light and Speed Cameras

A new report released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund outlines problems with the growing trend among cities in Arizona and across the country to outsource traffic enforcement to red-light and speed camera vendors.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Budget

Cronkite News Service: Public interest group: Outsourcing traffic cameras has pitfalls

Arizona communities should put public safety ahead of profits when deciding whether to install traffic cameras through private companies, a public interest group contends in a new report.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

New Report Shows Problems with Widely Used Local Economic Development Tool

New research released today outlines problems with the growing trend among cities to borrow against future growth and divert tax revenues as a way to attract economic development.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Accountability, Transparency Urged for the Arizona Commerce Authority

At the September 27, 2011 meeting of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and Americans for Prosperity called on the new entity to be transparent and accountable to taxpayers.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Budget

Arizona Republic: Governor Brewer's panel urges privatization

When recommendations from Gov. Jan Brewer's Commission on Privatization and Efficiency were issued, Serena Unrein of Arizona PIRG urged transparency and accountability to protect public tax dollars.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed

CONSUMER ALERTS

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code

support us

Your donation supports Arizona PIRG's work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.