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

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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading

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