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

News Release | Arizona PIRG | Budget

Arizona Bond Rating Downgraded in Part Due to Budget Gimmicks

The rating agency Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded Arizona’s bond rating.  A major factor in the rating downgrade was Arizona’s reliance on band-aid solutions to deep budget problems.  The Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) has been calling on lawmakers to implement common-sense solutions for addressing the state's budget woes, rather than relying on short-term fixes.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Arizona PIRG | Budget

New Fiscal Year, Same Budget Gimmicks?

With the start of a new fiscal year for the State of Arizona, Arizona PIRG called on lawmakers to implement common-sense solutions for addressing our budget woes, rather than relying on short-term fixes.  Analysts estimate that as the new fiscal year begins, the state already faces a budget deficit of $368 million to $1.3 billion dollars.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Arizona Recieves an “F” on Transparency of Government Spending

Arizona gets an “F” when it comes to openness about government spending, according to a new Arizona PIRG Education Fund report, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2010

State governments across the country are changing that. At least 32 states currently mandate that residents be able to access an online database of government expenditures with “checkbook-level” detail. Most of these Web sites are also searchable, making it easier for residents to obtain information about government spending. This report evaluates states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0” – a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Budget

Group Issues Study to Save Taxpayers over a Trillion Dollars

As concerns mount of the government’s growing deficit, the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) issued a new list of policy recommendations that would save American taxpayers over a trillion dollars.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Budget

Congress Chooses to Invest in America's Priorities, Votes to pass President's Budget

Last night, Congress approved President Obama's transformational plan to overhaul the nation's health care system, make college more accessible, and eliminate wasteful subsidies and abusive tax shelters and loopholes. Similar resolutions passed in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that reflect President Obama's commitment to responsibly tackle critical public interest priorities.  A conference committee with members of both bodies will meet over the next few weeks to reconcile the differences in the bill.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Budget

Arizona PIRG will Monitor President Obama’s Bailout Plans

Without better oversight, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bank bailout program will continue to fail, according to a report from the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG).  According to Arizona PIRG, today’s expected TARP reform announcements from the Obama Administration will include major improvements in oversight and accountability that will also benefit from continued use of the new Arizona PIRG TARP report card for evaluation.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Budget

Statement of Diane E. Brown, Executive Director, on Final Passage of Wall Street Bailout Legislation Today

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG) is deeply disappointed that Congress punted on enacting critical protections for taxpayers and homeowners in the Wall Street bailout legislation passed today.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Budget

Arizona PIRG’s Main Street Financial Reform Platform

Arizona PIRG lists reforms that must be included in any emergency bailout legislation that may be considered before Congress adjourns.

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