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Kentucky gets an 'A' for transparency

Kentucky scored best in the nation for transparency of state government spending in a report released Tuesday by U.S. PIRG, a public-interest research group based in Boston.

Only Kentucky scored an A, or 97 of 100 possible points, on the group's Transparency Scorecard. Ohio placed a distant second with a B at 84 points. Eighteen states flunked.

The group credited Kentucky's OpenDoor Web site — http://opendoor.ky.gov — for providing "checkbook-level" information online about spending by government agencies, updated daily. The Web site includes salaries, expenses and contract information.

Kentucky did not get a perfect 100 score because its Web site does not disclose federal stimulus spending or local government spending, the group said.

Gov. Steve Beshear said he was pleased because openness has been a theme of his administration.

"As we face an unprecedented $1.5 billion shortfall over the next biennium, it is more important than ever for government to be transparent and accountable, and for citizens to feel confident that their tax dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly," Beshear said in a statement.

"I'm proud of the efforts we have made, along with the bipartisan support of all of the state's executive branch constitutional officers and Kentucky's judicial branch, to put our checkbooks online for public view in a comprehensive and user-friendly manner," he said.

Two proposals now before the General Assembly would require the legislative branch of government to join the judicial and executive branches in posting their spending data online, but Senate Bill 40 and House Bill 492 have both stalled in the House. Lawmakers return to Frankfort for two final days of work on Wednesday and Thursday.

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