Connecticut’s state budgeting process scores well in terms of transparency and openness, but still could improve, according to a new report from a New Haven-based public policy advocacy group.

The Fiscal Policy Center at Connecticut Voices for Children also reported that state government has made considerable progress over the past two decades.

The center, which announced its findings Friday, gave Connecticut a score of 74 on a 100-point scale in which the highest category includes ratings of 75 and above.  Twenty years ago, the state’s budget process scored 56 percent.

Using a state budget transparency scorecard developed by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based think-thank that conducts research on a range of government policies and programs, Connecticut Voices gave this state high marks for:

  • Providing information to put programs in context.  The state makes budget documents readily available to the public and includes descriptive language to explain budget changes.
  • Providing updated estimates during the budget process that include long-term revenue and spending projections.

The report concluded Connecticut could improve by:

  • Providing more details on how federal funds are spent.
  • Publishing more tax data, including the impact of taxes on different income groups and business sizes.
  • Conducting public budget hearings before the governor’s budget is proposed.

“Governor Malloy has made transparency a hallmark of his administration,” Gian-Carl Casa, spokesman for the state Office of Policy and Management, said Friday. “The report mentions one example — that OPM has for the first time made agency budget proposals available on-line. The ratings are based on national standards that are not always a perfect fit for every state. We will take a look at the details of the report and see if there are recommendations that would work for Connecticut.”

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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