Albuquerque lets it all hang out with data

City tries to move to the forefront of transparency with ABQ View

New Mexico ranked 44th among states in the latest transparency rankings by the Sunshine Review. The City of Albuquerque is trying to change that.

The state’s largest city recently unveiled its ABQ View website, which provides a comprehensive look at how the city collects and spends its money.

“ABQ View puts our city government at the forefront of what open government should look like for cities around the country,” Mayor Richard Berry said when he announced the site in August. “I fully expect the public and media to scrutinize and thoroughly examine this data now that it is easily accessible and searchable online,” he said.

In a section titled, "Where Do My Taxes Go," the site offers breakdowns on city spending in categories such as Budget, City Checkbook, City Contracts and Graded Employee Hourly Rates. Other sections provide details on political contributions to city officials, city employee travel expenses and current audits and investigations. Another section lists the city’s building projects.

Cities and states have been making a push toward transparency with open-data efforts similar to the federal government’s Open Government Initiative, with varying degrees of success.

The Sunshine Review, a nonprofit group that tracks state and local government transparency, rates state efforts by tracking the transparency of county websites within the state, under categories such as Budget, Taxes, Audits, Lobbying and Public Records.

In its current rankings, Arizona comes out as the most transparent, followed by California, Florida, Washington and Maryland. At the bottom of the list, in spots 43 through 47, are Nebraska, New Mexico, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Arkansas. (Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont technically are ranked 48th, 49th and 50th, but because they don’t have county governments, they don’t fit into the Sunshine Review’s ranking system.)

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

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