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WISPIRG Foundation
|
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By
Meg Jones

Madison - Nine months after lawmakers passed a budget that included a provision to create a website showing state government expenditures of $100 or more, the information is not easily available to anyone with access to a computer.

That's why the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group has given Wisconsin a D-minus grade in its annual report on transparency of government spending.

"Wisconsinites need to be able to follow the money," said Bruce Speight, the group's director.

The study found Wisconsin is the 10th-worst state in the nation for providing information about where and how state money is spent. Several states, including Texas, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, provide checkbook-level data, so anyone can look at expenditures, tax credits and subsidies like a checkbook.

Last year Wisconsin earned a D-plus. The state dropped this year because its online checkbook is difficult to use, lacks information and lags behind other states.

Speight said Gov. Scott Walker campaigned on making government spending more transparent, but even though a provision was included in the current budget passed in June, the Department of Administration hasn't followed through.

"We've reached out to DOA. We've not heard why they haven't done it quicker or why they're dragging their feet," Speight said.

A Department of Administration spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment.

Wisconsin's website - sunshine.wi.gov - has not been upgraded since last year's study, and it's difficult to use and find information, said Speight.

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