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Friday, January 31, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Despite all the talk about transparency, a six-month Eyewitness News investigation discovered Indiana is keeping secrets about hundreds of projects, thousands of missing jobs and millions in taxpayer dollars used to pay for them."

See the very lengthy story and video today, from Bob Segall at WTHR 13. A sample:

Among WTHR's findings:
  • IEDC's new transparency website is missing basic disclosure information that other states release to taxpayers.
  • The state agency is not releasing any information about hundreds of projects it previously announced.
  • IEDC is reporting official job statistics that exclude all failed economic development projects from its calculations.
  • Both IEDC and the governor are citing the state's new job transparency law as justification to withhold information from public disclosure.
* * *

It certainly looks transparent. [the IEDC transparency portal]

"There are some good things here like actual contracts posted online and the ability to download data from the portal. We applaud that," said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan, non-profit watchdog organization that tracks economic development policy and transparency.

But LeRoy points out the transparency portal has critical flaws that blemish its claim of transparency.

"You're seeing jobs announced, but you're not getting actual jobs created. You're not getting actual wages paid. You're not even getting the address of the work site. None of that's here, so it's very, very bare-bones disclosure," he said while examining the website. "It's primitive in terms of giving you what you need to know to know if you're getting a bang for your taxpayer buck."

Illinois and several other nearby states do report that type of economic development information online.

After a further investigation of the transparency portal, LeRoy gave a much harsher critique.

"It's sham transparency. There's no other way to put it," he said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 31, 2014 07:19 PM
Posted to Indiana Government