State Websites Failing To Provide Details On Stimulus

    July 30, 2009

While some states have created solid websites to provide information about their portion of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), most are failing to effectively educate taxpayers about the impact of economic stimulus spending, according to a report from Good Jobs First, an economic development research group.

"Many states are failing to support President Obama’s vow that the Recovery Act will be carried out with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability," said Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy.

"By failing to use broadly available web tools, they are making it more difficult to measure the success of ARRA in mitigating the effects of the recession."

The report evaluated the general ARRA websites that all states have created and graded them on transparency on a scale of 0 to 100.

Greg LeRoy, Good Jobs First, Executive Director
Greg LeRoy
Good Jobs First
Executive Director

Six states score 50 or better for their main ARRA site: Maryland (80), Colorado (68), Washington (63), West Virginia (60), New York (53) and Pennsylvania (50). Thirteen states score 50 or better for their highway reporting, led by Maryland (75), Washington (73), Colorado (65) and Nebraska (60). The average score for the ARRA websites is 28.

Five states that scored very low on providing specifics on how ARRA money is used include Alabama, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Kentucky and Vermont. Illinois received a zero and only provided nation figures on its website and nothing on how much is being spent in the state.

"Given the Recovery Act’s high profile, we expected better results, but most state ARRA sites simply do not measure up," said Philip Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report.

"The challenge is not insurmountable," he added. "States such as Maryland, Colorado and Washington are doing a very good job in conveying vital information about stimulus spending and are leading the way in establishing best practices for state ARRA disclosure."