Today Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and State Auditor Glen Gainer announced www.transparencywv.org received one of the highest possible rankings, an "A-", for transparency in state government from the United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG).
"We have made great strides in putting our financial house in order by paying down long-term liabilities, maintaining one of the nation's healthiest Rainy Day Funds, and continuing to pay our bills on-time," Gov. Tomblin said. "These accomplishments have resulted in better bond ratings and more savings for the state. Now, with TransparencyWV.org we can show taxpayers where their money is going and we are using taxpayer dollars wisely. This award is another feather in our cap of fiscal responsibility."
This latest award stands in stark contrast to last year when the State received a failing grade in the U.S. PIRG's first annual "Following the Money" report. For 2012, U.S. PIRG states that West Virginia showed the most improvement among states to, " become a leader in Transparency 2.0." In addition to U.S. PIRG, West Virginia recently received a "Sunny" award from the Sunshine Review for transparency in State Government.
Auditor Gainer said, "We needed to put our state's financial information under one roof, and we could utilize existing tools and teamwork to give West Virginia a robust transparency website."
Last summer, Gov. Tomblin and Auditor Gainer set a plan that would bring all of the state's financial units together to create a single, user-friendly transparency website. The plan brought in-house programmers and stakeholders together to create TransparencyWV.org.
Although much of the financial data was already available, developers created a "dashboard" webpage that assembled that data into a searchable and sortable layout with dynamic charts. Thousands of page views have been recorded with the vast majority (77%) searching through the daily updated expenditures.