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Eye On Boise

Wed., Aug. 26, 2009, 9:38 a.m.

‘Room for improvement’ for stimulus sites

Every state has now created a “transparency” Web site to allow residents to track federal economic stimulus money, but according to a report by a good-government group, some sites are better than others. Washington ranked among the top three in the nation, while Idaho tied for 28th for its overall site and ranked 9th for its transportation site.  “Overall, there’s room for improvement for a great majority of states,” said Michele Lee, spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based Good Jobs First, a research group that developed the “Show Us the Stimulus” report.

Wayne Hammon, head of Idaho's Division of Financial Management, noted that much of the data Idaho was knocked for lacking, including county-by-county breakdowns of spending, is scheduled to go up in October, when state agencies start submitting reports to the federal government. Lee said if Idaho posts the additional data in October, it'll likely see its ranking from the group improve. That's what Illinois did, after the state - President Barack Obama's home state - took an embarrassing last place in the report's initial findings, scoring a zero. "The state went into action and has been very active in changing their Web site so that it can be better," Lee said. "Now their score is tentatively at 75 (out of 100), and it's one of the better ones." You can read my full story here at, which includes links to the Idaho and Washington sites.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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