Transparency on PA’s Stimulus Money

Governor Rendell announced his ideas for “oversight” of the funding Pennsylvania will receive from the federal stimulus (related story here), and unveiled a new website – –  to promote transparency in the simulus spending.

While the website does breakdown how much stimulus money PA will get by category, and profiles some of the tax provisions for citizens – indicating someone read the bill – I’m not overly impressed with the promised level of transparency.

For example:

A key provision of the federal recovery is regular public reporting of project status, spending, and job creation and retention.  These quarterly reports will be made available on this website

As I suggested before, a continually updated checkbook register would offer far better transparency and accountability.  

As for the level of detail under the FAQ for “Where is your money going?”, we get answers like this:

Pennsylvania’s young people will benefit from more than $2.5 billion for tuition assistance and improved public education.  …

The economic recovery plan provides an estimated $4 billion to increase access to quality health care for elderly, disabled and low-income Pennsylvanians, as well as other assistance programs.

That’s not transparency, it’s marketing slogans.  They might was well write, “We’ll spend lots of money, and it will be awesome.”