March 16, 2012
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 16, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear’s award-winning transparency website, Open Door, has once again received top honors as a comprehensive, searchable portal that enables taxpayers to explore government expenditures.For the third year in a row, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has recognized the site, online at www.OpenDoor.KY.gov, as a national leader in transparency and accountability for the tracking of state spending.“It is an honor to have Open Door recognized once again as my administration remains steadfast in our commitment to open the Commonwealth’s checkbook to the public,” said Beshear. “During a time when our nation is rebounding from this difficult economy, citizens deserve to know how and where tax dollars are being spent.”Kentucky has been able to create and maintain its renowned portal at no cost to taxpayers, using existing staff and no additional resources, Beshear said.Kentucky is a leader in providing such a comprehensive transparency site and continues to top the ratings even as the evaluations and scoring criteria become more rigorous and thorough. Kentucky was only one of two states to receive an “A” ranking this year, sharing that distinction with Texas.U.S. PIRG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest advocacy organization. In its report, “Following the Money 2012: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” Kentucky scored 96 out of 100 possible points.“Citizens expect information to be at their fingertips the way they can view their cellphone minutes or the location of a package. Putting spending information online helps hold government accountable and allows taxpayers to see where the money goes,” said Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst for tax and budget policy at U.S. PIRG and co-author of the report.Shortly after taking office, Gov. Beshear issued an executive order in the spring of 2008 to establish the e-Transparency Task Force – a 14-member bipartisan panel charged with providing a more transparent and accountable state government. On Jan. 1, 2009, Kentucky’s Open Door was launched after a concerted, multi-agency effort, led by officials of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.“We are very pleased to continue to receive top marks in transparency, for the third year in a row, and we are encouraged to see more states are joining Kentucky in the ‘A’ category, an honor we happily share,” said Secretary Lori H. Flanery. “Kentucky has been a role model not just for other states, but also for international journalists and government leaders. We will continue to improve the site and look for innovative solutions going forward.”In addition to Kentucky and Texas, five other states received “A-” ratings. According to the report, over the past two years, the number of states with online transparency portals has increased from 32 to 46. In 2011, eight states launched transparency websites for the first time and several others made significant improvements to previously existing sites.Open Door currently hosts information from both the executive and judicial branches, and all of Kentucky’s constitutional officers.
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