Something Pennsylvania Government Does Pretty Well

A new report on state spending transparency websites gives Pennsylvania’s site—PennWatch—a solid ‘B’ grade.

Created through legislation passed in 2011, PennWatch offers data—down to the “checkbook level”—on state spending, grants, employee salaries, and tax incentives (via link to “Investment Tracker”).

The Commonwealth Foundation had long advocated for such transparency, and PennWatch became reality with the support of Republican Rep. Jim Christiana and Sen. Pat Browne as well as Democrat Rep. Rick Mirabito and former Speaker Bill DeWeese. 

According to the new report, Pennsylvania could move from a ‘B’ to an ‘A’ by making the data downloadable for research, and by tracking “actual public benefits” from economic development subsidies. We could also get extra credit by reporting “recouped funds” for subsidies with clawback provisions.

Overall, PennWatch has been a successful reform, giving taxpayers more information about how their hard-earned money has been spent.