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A failing grade

By Staff
When it comes to making sure its taxpayers know where their money is spent and why it’s being spent, North Carolina must receive an A-plus on its report card.
Anything less than that should be considered a failing grade. And according to a report release Monday, North Carolina has been given a B-minus. North Carolina must do better. Its taxpayers deserve nothing less.
For the record, Utah, Virginia and Washington were cited as having the most-effective state governments in the nation. New Hampshire received the lowest ranking.
States were graded in management of budgets and purchasing systems, recruitment and retention of qualified employees, improvements to roads, bridges and other core infrastructure and use of information and technology.
The Old North State is lacking when it comes to transparency in its budgeting process, making it difficult for the public to follow and participate in how the state spends billions of tax dollars, according to a report released Monday. The report was released by the Pew Center on the States, according to a story by The Associated Press.
The Pew Center on the States presented a report card that analyzed states on how well they manage their budgets, staffs, infrastructure and information. North Carolina performs well when it comes to developing new ideas to better manage state personnel, but the state struggles to implement those ideas because its managers are not centralized, the report notes. Each state agency has its own human-resources section, but not all of them want to operate the way the state recommends, the report said.
If that’s the case, perhaps it’s time each of those directors is delivered something — a pink slip — if he or she can’t or won’t deliver those services.
Although the state receives some praise for implementing improvements when it comes to financial matters, the Pew Center’s report reserved its harshest criticism for the state’s budgeting procedures, according to the AP report.
“The state’s Results-Based Budgeting Initiative is still new but is a major improvement, particularly in terms of transparency and the quality of information available to all parties when making decisions. Unfortunately, if all of this is going to have the success that its architects want, there will have to be improvements in the way information is solicited and communicated. As things stand, the governor’s budget document is the place where transparency ends. Some budget information published by the legislature can be difficult even for experts to follow, and public input in legislative hearings is in most cases severely limited,” the report reads.
One part of the report that addresses that very issue is very telling.
No matter the grade, that’s failing to give North Carolina taxpayers and the public what they deserve. After all, it’s their money. They should have more than one minute to say how that money should be spent.
It looks like the state needs to work on getting that A-plus. Right now, it’s just not making the grade.