CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's grade for online transparency of state government spending has slipped from an A- to a C, according to the latest rankings released by a national watchdog group.
West Virginia's national ranking dropped from sixth last year to 21st this year. The state's overall score dropped from 91 points to 74.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group's report concluded that other states are taking swifter steps to improve online fiscal transparency.
"West Virginia's falling score does not mean spending has become less transparent," said Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst for tax and budget policy for PIRG's education fund. "It means other states are improving faster."
Last year, West Virginia officials lauded PIRG's annual report that gave the state an A-, a significant improvement from an F grade in 2011.
In the fall of 2011, the state started a "TransparencyWV" website, www.transparencywv.org, to track spending. Texas' state government had a similarly designed website.
Tuesday's "Following the Money" report said West Virginia's transparency website has "checkbook-level information on contracts, grants and other expenses." But the site lacks details on economic development tax credits and subsidies, according to the report.
" ... West Virginia still has plenty of room for improvement," Baxandall said.