News

All the news about government financial transparency

March 23, 2018 The President’s New Management Agenda; Data is a Key Driver of Government Reform
Christian Hoehner This week the White House endorsed a data-centric approach to modernizing and restoring trust in government. For data companies and data transparency, the newly-unveiled President’s Management Agenda (PMA) does not disappoint.

March 19, 2018 Louisiana state government, economy rank poorly in plethora of recent reports
Bethany Blankley The Chicago-based think tank Truth in Accounting’s (TIA) reviewed Louisiana’s financial health and its most populous city, New Orleans, giving both D grades. Based on data derived from the state’s 2016 audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and retirement plans' actuarial reports, TIA concludes, “state government officials continue to obscure large amounts of retirement debt on their balance sheets, despite new rules to increase financial transparency.”

March 14, 2018 Unleashing the Power of Financial Data in State and Local Governments
C. Christina Ho and Dean Ritz Tracking the flow of money within the U.S. Government is difficult because the government’s financial system is decentralized, with money flowing from the federal government to many state and local entities. However, if each level of government adopted open data principles, over time the government could track the flow of money between these disparate systems, thereby facilitating clear, transparent models of spending and performance.

March 12, 2018 The California Legislature needs to be more transparent about doing the people’s business
The Editorial Board In recognition of Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of open government, we call on the California Legislature to get more transparent about doing the people’s business. For decades,...

March 01, 2018 Are Open Data Efforts Working?
Adam Stone “We proposed that a robust open data platform could be used by agencies to proactively publish often requested information and mandated publications,” said Liz Rowe, New Jersey's chief data officer. When she highlighted these practical outcomes,

February 13, 2018 Website Keeping Public in the Know
Editorial Public officials often make it a point to talk about how committed they are to “transparency.” They want the public to know precisely what is going on in government, they insist. Some are serious about that. Too many are not. Fortunately for West Virginians, among those ...

February 15, 2018 A new way to help Louisiana government improve transparency
Taylor Trache What if you had a digital check book, but instead of keeping track of your own finances you could keep track of your states? The Louisiana check book, if implemented, ...

January 28, 2018 OhioCheckbook.com Government transparency website moves to forefront of Louisiana budget discussion
Elizabeth Crisp If the Legislature and the governor decide this is the right way for Louisiana to head, (a transparency website) is the biggest step that they can take to restore some faith in state government and where the money is going," Kay said. "It's a good gesture and the ...OhioCheckbook.com Government transparency website moves to forefront of Louisiana budget discussion…"

January 17, 2018 New Leap in Visualizing Development Data Across Asia
Todd Wassel, Matt Orr and Pauline Tweedie The Philippines has its own comprehensive website with searchable government data for almost any topic imaginable. One of the leaders in realizing the tremendous potential inherent in the “open data” movement is the World Bank Open Data Initiative,

January 17, 2018 Bloomberg Philanthropies taps Grand Rapids for National Data Initiative
Rachel Watson Grand Rapids will receive technical assistance to make municipal data more accessible and engage residents around government priorities and services. The city will focus on developing an equity-based dataset inventory, open data portal and standards to ...

January 10, 2018 Louisville's Open Data, Is It For Everyone?
Amina Elahi Over the past year-and-a-half, Louisville Metro government has been making news and winning awards for an innovative approach toward handling the city's data, making it public for anyone who's interested.

January 01, 2018 What happens when cities open their data? An Esri expert looks at the challenges
Fielding Buck He said that task taught him that data and analytics need to be matched with the expertise of experienced city workers on the ground, in this case, the New York City Fire Department and its knowledge of building regulations.

December 21, 2017 Looking Back at 2017 When Open Data Took Hold
Hudson Hollister In early 2012, we set out to build the world’s first trade group focused on transforming government information from disconnected documents into open, freely-flowing data. As the Data Coalition celebrated its fifth birthday, our ambitious agenda had taken hold for U.S. federal spending information – and was on its way to transforming the rest of the federal information portfolio as well.

December 12, 2017 What Louisiana can learn from Ohio
Jeremy Alford Technology has changed a lot over the past 10 years and there are now a number of groups that want to put spending online for all levels of government,” says LABI President Stephen Waguespack. “LaTrac was good and groundbreaking at the time, but it doesn’t take things to the next level like the Ohio Checkbook does.

December 12, 2017 Government transparency group applauds Treasurer Schmitt’s Missouri Economic Dashboard
State News

December 08, 2017 What should be included in a GPO (Title 44) Reform Bill
Daniel Schuman Modernize the Constitution Annotated, so that it is available to the public as a constantly updated website (just like the internal congressional website). The current publication method — an app that displays the PDF — is not sufficient. If possible, the underlying XML behind CONAN should be published as well.

November 21, 2017 DATA Act so far, so meh
Tom Temin Those pesky Government Accountability Office auditors checked out the data posted at USAspending.gov. Under the law, GAO is supposed to check things periodically. When it comes to budget data, agencies get about a “C.” GAO is 95 percent confident that three-quarters of the website data matches agency records. But on contracts and grants spending, forget about it. GAO found that between 0 and 1 percent of posted data matches agency records.

November 14, 2017 Why we support using open data and evidence-based policymaking
Sunlight Foundation

October 23, 2017 Data Coalition’s California Data Demo Day
Hudson Hollister Data Coalition’s October 2017 California Data Demo Day 5 New Lessons on Transparency Outside and Efficiency Inside

October 06, 2017 Federal Government Expands Open Financial Data Efforts
Morgan Lynch

September 07, 2017 Assembly Freshmen Find Extra Pay in Seats
Empire Center The newly uploaded data detail $110 million in spending by members of the state Assembly and Senate between October 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. The data also show...

August 24, 2017 Open The Books’ CEO Adam Andrzejewski on Q&A C-SPAN
Brian Lamb With Brian Lamb interviewing Adam Andrzejewski

July 14, 2017 The Last DATA Act Summit
Hudson Hollister What we learned at the DATA Act Summit – and why it was our last one

June 30, 2017 What Is Next For Spending Data
Mark Rockwell

June 30, 2017 Free Data Sources Municipal Open Data Portals For 85 US Cities
Meta S. Brown

May 08, 2017 A brief history of the DATA Act
Matt Rumsey On May 9th, federal agencies will officially begin reporting data in compliance with the open standards created under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, the landmark legislation that cleared Congress in 2014]. It’s called the DATA Act, for short, which is how we refer to it today. The data will start flowing to beta.usaspending.gov in the coming days and will eventually be transitioned to USAspending.gov, the long term online home of federal spending data.

April 25, 2017 Following the Money 2017 Special Districts
US PIRG ‘Special districts’ are a type of government agency that exist outside of traditional forms of general purpose local or state governments, and serve key governmental functions such as public transit or housing...The lack of transparency and accountability of many special districts has caused concern among some state agencies and government watchdogs, as it can contribute to an atmosphere conducive to lowered efficiency and potential misconduct.

January 23, 2017 Small Cities, Big Challenges Why We Need a System to Warn of Fiscal Crises
Marc Joffe

September 27, 2016 New Tool to Increase Transparency in Government Finance Released by University Research Center
Center for Municipal Finance

September 12, 2016 California SB1029 on Debt Transparency
California Legislature Financial transparency through an annual debt report as per California Senate Bill 1029, signed into law on September 12, 2016

April 13, 2016 Following the Money 2016, New Report Ranks All Fifty States on Government Spending Transparency
US PIRG

December 21, 2015 Finding California’s Biggest Payees
Marc Joffe

November 17, 2015 California Ranks 50th in Spending Transparency
Marc Joffe

September 20, 2015 Why is Truthful, Timely, and Transparent Financial Data Important?
Truth In Accounting To be informed participants in their governments, citizens must be provided with truthful and transparent information. States’ efforts to begin digging out from their current financial holes must start with honest government accounting. Only then can responsible alternatives to place the state on solid financial footing be developed and debated. An informed electorate is essential to a democratic system of government, and citizens have not received the financial information needed to be knowledgeable participants in their governments.

April 21, 2015 Americans’ Views on Open Government Data
John Horrigan and Lee Rainie Government reformers and advocates believe that two contemporary phenomena hold the potential to change how people engage with governments at all levels. The first is data. There is more of it than ever before and there are more effective tools for sharing it. This creates new service-delivery possibilities for government through use of data that government agencies themselves collect and generate. The second is public desire to make government more responsive, transparent and effective in serving citizens — an impulse driven by tight budgets and declining citizens’ trust in government.

March 18, 2015 How Does Your State Rank for Financial Data Transparency
Colin Wood “Ohio was the surprise winner with a grade of A+, up from a D- last year, after the launch of a new financial portal under the state’s office of the treasurer, which looks like something one would expect from a successful tech company, not a government agency, said U.S. PIRG Senior policy Analyst Phineas Baxandall.”

December 19, 2014 How California is Putting Big Local Government Data Online
Marc Joffe

July 23, 2014 USC Open Data LA initiative promotes public access to government data throughout Los Angeles County
Elizabeth Krane “Open data is a new aspect of journalism in the public interest,” said Dana Chinn, CCLP faculty fellow and USC Annenberg project lead. “It’s a worldwide movement, but we’re going to focus on how open data initiatives can address the unique needs of the greater Los Angeles community.”

September 04, 2013 The Case for Muni XBRL, Bringing Municipal Financial Disclosure Into the 21st Century
Marc Joffe

October 02, 2013 Modernizing California City Financial Reporting
Marc Joffe and Max Neiman