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S.C. fiscal transparency website No. 9 in nation

Staff Report //May 22, 2018//

S.C. fiscal transparency website No. 9 in nation

Staff Report //May 22, 2018//

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South Carolina’s fiscal transparency website ranks No. 9 in the nation in a new report evaluating quality and user friendliness.

The state received a grade of B-plus, earning 87 points, in the report (.pdf), titled “Following the Money 2018: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data” and issued by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Frontier Group, a pair of nonprofit good-government advocacy organizations.

Part of the evaluation included a search for six specific expenditures, with South Carolina’s website one of just three that rated comprehensive by providing the information in “an easily accessible format in the online checkbook for fiscal year 2017,” the report said.

The report also noted that S.C. is one of six states that posts a publicly accessible financial report and one of a handful that created and updates its website with funds from its existing budget.

“Some states have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their transparency websites, but we’ve always used existing internal resources for our site to save taxpayers money,” Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom said in a statement. “This report proves that it’s not necessary to spend lots of money on a high-priced website to provide high-quality information to the public.”

Eckstrom said the state expects an A grade in 2019 if it receives credit for information added that provides details on financial incentives the state awards to attract film production.

Ohio and West Virginia tied for tops in the country with 98 points, while Wyoming ranked last with 35.