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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ease of following the NH money? Wrong, F

New Hampshire flunks when it comes to openness about government spending, according to a report released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group on Wednesday.

The report, “Following the Money 2011: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” looked at what level of details states are providing about their spending on government websites. New Hampshire received a grade of “F” because is doesn’t provide “checkbook-level detail.” This was the organization’s second annual report. Its release was timed to coincide with Sunshine Week.

“The good news is that since last year’s Following the Money report, state governments across the country have become far more transparent about where the money goes,” Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst for tax and budget policy at US PIRG, said in a statement. “But New Hampshire has a long way to go.”

Massachusetts was among the leading states with the most open spending, based on the report’s benchmarks. States with high rankings have searchable spending databases, allowing for people to track spending. Thirty-seven states have systems that allow for visitors to search for expenditures to vendor name or type of service purchased.

New Hampshire did receive points for having a link that allows for visitors to track federal stimulus spending.

– MICHAEL BRINDLEY