Report: Most States Failing to Use the Web Effectively to Inform Taxpayers About Stimulus Spending

Jul 29, 2009, 13:26 ET from Good Jobs First

WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A handful of states have created impressive websites to disseminate information about their share of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), but most are failing to make effective use of online technology to educate taxpayers about the impact of stimulus spending. This is the finding of Show Us the Stimulus, a report released today by Good Jobs First, a nonprofit research center.

The report and state appendices are at

"Many states are failing to support President Obama's vow that the stimulus will be carried out with unprecedented transparency," said Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy.

The study examines the quality of disclosure by state websites on the ways ARRA funding is flowing. Each state is rated 0-100 for its overall site and again for reporting on highway projects.

"Given the Recovery Act's high profile, we expected better results, but most state sites don't measure up," said Philip Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First and principal author of the report. "Yet it can be done; states such as Maryland are doing a good job conveying information about stimulus spending."

The top-scoring ARRA websites are Maryland (80 of 100), Colorado (68) and Washington (63). For highway reporting the best are Maryland and Washington. The average score for ARRA websites is 28; for highway reporting 38. Only Illinois rated zero on both measures.

Only four states provide jobs data for projects; eighteen states do so in highway reporting.

The best sites contain interactive maps with the location of projects and information such as cost and contractor name.

Eighteen states show how much funding is going to each county. But only six juxtapose stimulus spending with patterns of economic distress.

The report recommends state websites include:

  • A chart or table showing total stimulus spending coming into the state by major categories -- energy, transportation, etc.
  • Interactive maps to display information such as geographic distribution, spending in relation to distress and location of projects.
  • Information on the companies given contracts to carry out projects, and the contracts themselves.
  • Employment data for each project.

Good Jobs First co-chairs Coalition for an Accountable Recovery, which works at the federal level, and coordinates States for a Transparent and Accountable Recovery.

Contact: Michelle Lee (202) 232-1616 ext. 210

SOURCE Good Jobs First