Progress, But More Work Needed on Statewide Transparency Efforts

Jan 9, 2014

Kevin Lembo is the State Comptroller.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been one month since State Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced the expansion of Open Connecticut -- an online source for state finances -- to include financial information for Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies and federal programs.

"It's a common misconception that the 'quasis' are somehow free of Freedom of Information."
Kevin Lembo

The expansion was part of a larger effort to boost statewide transparency, granting Connecticut residents increased access to budget statements and fiscal data.

While this is a step in the right direction for transparency advocates, the state still has a way to go in making this information more public. According to a report released by U.S. PIRG last March, Connecticut lags behind other states in its transparency efforts:

Connecticut received a grade of C from the U.S. PIRG for its government spending transparency efforts online.
Credit U.S. PIRG

“You know, it’s a common misconception that the ‘quasis’ are somehow free of Freedom of Information,” Comptroller Lembo said on WNPR’s Where We Live. “They are subject to FOI... So, it’s not necessarily the existence of the law. It’s how we operate within the spirit of that law.”

Listen to more of Lembo's comments during the show:

On December 3, Governor Dannel Malloy issued an executive order calling for increased transparency on Connecticut’s economic development incentives. According to Comptroller Lembo, this order will include the establishment of a real-time portal for the state’s financial data.  

“We’re now going to start seeing more of that data later this year,” said ConnPIRG Director Abe Scarr. “So, we’re definitely making strides. And we definitely believe that quasi-publics are an important part of that, and we need to start seeing more checkbook-level data on quasi-publics as we move forward.”