Evaluation of Indiana state website

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IN.gov is the website for the state of Indiana. In Sept. 2010, the state auditor launched a transparency portal, the Indiana Transparency Portal (ITP). The state added state agency performance reviews and more local government spending information in the first quarter of 2011.[1] It has promised side-by-side comparison of budgeted numbers and actual expenditures during the second quarter of 2011.[2]

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngC
Budget P
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Usability P
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Legislative P
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Executive P
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Ethics
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Audits P
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Contracts
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Lobbying P
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Public records P
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Compensation P
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State agency websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

In 2011 Indiana earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

This website was reviewed on an unknown date.

The good

  • Budget
    • Budgets and the governor’s proposed budgets are archived for at least 3 years.[3]
    • Check register available with reports regarding tax expenditures.[4]
    • Revenues and expenditures are shown graphically.[5]
    • Annual and quarterly reports are posted.[6]
  • Audits
    • Information about regular audits is available.[7]
    • Audit results posted online.[8]
    • Performance audits are posted online.[9]
  • Legislative Public Officials
    • Contact information, including e-mail form, is available for all elected officials.[10]
    • Party affiliation is disclosed.
    • Committee appointments are online.
    • Roll call votes are online.
    • Conflict of interests forms are online.[11]
    • Salaries are disclosed for elected officials.
  • Executive Public Officials
    • Cabinet members are listed.[12]
    • There is a state employee directory search that provides phone numbers and some email addresses.[13]
    • Salaries are disclosed.[14]
  • Compensation
    • Employee salaries are provided.[15]
  • Ethics
    • Must have an ethics commission and guidelines for ethical behavior of officials.[16]
    • Process for reporting ethics violation is available online.[17]
    • Results of ethics investigations are posted online.[18]
  • Contracts
    • Rules governing contracts will be posted online.[19]
    • Bids and contracts for purchases over $10,000 will be posted online.[20]
    • Complete statements for awarded contracts will be disclosed.[21]
  • Public Records
    • At least 24 hours is given notice online before a public meeting is held.[22]
  • Lobbying
    • Database of registered lobbyists.[23]
    • Lobbying database will specify lobbyist, company, client, agency being lobbied, purpose of lobbying.
  • Usability
    • Site is consistent in use of web domains.
    • Internal search function is useful.
    • Information is presented in a clear and concise manner, with website written in “plain english” instead of legal jargon.
    • Budgets are downloadable as PDFs.
    • All PDFs, financial data, and legislation are searchable or can be presented in a drilldown database format.

The bad

  • Budget
    • No evidence that all appropriations bills will posted online as least one week before being voted on.
    • No evidence that the proposed budget will be posted seven days prior to being voted on.
  • Legislative Public Officials
    • Personalized emails are not provided.
    • Terms of office and date of next election are not posted online.
    • Pension benefits are not disclosed.
  • Executive Public Officials
    • Agency heads do not always have personalized email addresses provided.
    • Pension benefits are not disclosed.
  • Audits
    • Schedule for audits is not posted online.
  • Public Records
    • Executive sessions and appropriation meetings should be broadcast online and archived.
    • Information regarding public information violations and how to pursue them should be posted online.
    • Contact information, including e-mails, for the Public Information Officer for every state agency and department should be in a central location.
    • Citizens should be able to request public records online, either by e-mail or an online submission form.
    • Annual compliance surveys that measure the number of FOIA requests submitted, number fulfilled, average time for compliance, and reasons for denials are not posted online.
  • Lobbying
    • Does not disclose state-paid lobbying activity.
    • Agency lobbying contracts are not posted online.
    • Executive and Legislative lobbying is not recorded.
    • All grants given to non-profit organizations should be posted online. The reason for the grant should also be disclosed, along with the contact for organization responsible for oversight.
  • Compensation
    • Benefit information is not disclosed.
  • Usability
    • Could not find a single meetings page.

U.S. PIRG rating

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website an "A-" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 93 out of 100.[24]

The scorecard that U.S. PIRG uses has 13 items and focuses on a separate state website that is searchable at the checkbook level. Sunshine Review, on the other hand, focuses on the availability of separate spending-related items; they do not need to be in a central database.

Item Possible points Notes
Checkbook-level website 30 Detailed expenditure information, including individual payments made to vendors.
Search by vendor 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by contractor or vendor name.
Search by keyword of activity 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by type of service or item purchased, category, or government fund.
Search by agency or departments 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by branch of government.
Contract or summary information 10 A copy of the contract or detailed summary information is included for the expenditures.
Historical expenditures 5 Checkbook-level expenditure data from previous fiscal years.
Grants and economic development incentives information 10 Awardee-specific grants and/or economic development incentives are included in the checkbook tool or elsewhere with specific award amounts.
Downloadable 3 Information can be downloaded for data analysis.
Tax expenditure reports 10 The state's tax expenditure report is linked on the website.
Off-budget agencies 2 Expenditures from quasi-public agencies are included on the website.
City and county budgets 2 Financial information for some local governments is accessible.
ARRA Funding 2 A link is provided to the state's website that tracks funding related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Feedback 2 Website users are capable and encouraged to give feedback about the site.

There are several similarities between the checklists. For both checklists, the searchability of information factors in to how usability is rated. Both checklists have an item relating to contracts, tax information, and the budget. The U.S. PIRG requires information for quasi public entities; Sunshine Review requires information on lobbying, which includes quasi public entities' lobbying activity.

Unlike the Sunshine Review checklist with each check worth one point, different items on the U.S. PIRG checklist merit more or fewer points, depending on the item.

State Integrity Investigation

The 2012 State Integrity Investigation graded state ethics laws according to an "Integrity Index." The index was created by researching 330 "Integrity Indicators" across 14 categories of state government. The report assigned grades based on what laws are on the books, and whether or not they were effectively enforced. The report was a project of The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.[25]

Indiana received an overall grade of C-, or 70%. It ranked 22 out of the 50 states.[26]

Category Grade
Public Access to Information F
Political Financing F
Executive Accountability C-
Legislative Accountability D-
Judicial Accountability C-
State Budget Processes B
State Civil Service Management C-
Procurement B+
Internal Auditing B+
Lobbying Disclosure B-
State Pension Fund Management A
Ethics Enforcement Agencies F
State Insurance Commissions C-
Redistricting F

Transparency Legislation

2011

  • The House voted 87-0 to mandate transparency in deals involving cities and casinos.[27]

Resources

Resource Run by Includes Year URL
Access Indiana State Audit of all state agencies 2011 http://www.in.gov/sboa/resources/reports/audit/
Invest Indiana State Tracks federal stimulus funds 2010 http://www.in.gov/gov/INvest.htm
Indiana Transparency Portal State Expenditures, budget info, revenue, employees, contracts, stimulus, debt overview, performance, and local government 2011 http://www.in.gov/itp/
Indy Star Indy Star Employee Salaries 2009-2010 http://www.indystar.com/data/government/statepay.shtml
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions 2010 http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=IN

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Indiana and local governments in the state employed a total of 423,601 people.[28] Of those employees, 310,202 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $1,112,585,809 per month and 113,399 were part-time employees paid $106,724,434 per month.[28] More than 59% of those employees, or 251,485 employees, were in education or higher education.[28]

As of July 2010, the Indiana state government employed its smallest workforce since 1982. Special committee approval must approve any new hires.[29]

State employees' salaries were frozen in 2009 and through 2010.[29]

State Employee Benefits

The state of Indiana provides its eligible employees with many benefits. All active full-time employees and elected or appointed officials are eligible to participate. For the purpose of benefits eligibility, full-time employees are defined as active employees whose regular work schedule is at least 37 ½ hours per week. Part-time, intermittent and hourly (temporary) employees are not eligible for insurance or related benefits.[30]

Insurance

Health For health insurance, employees may select from two different Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHP), an HMO and a traditional PPO.[31] Under the CDHPshe employer biweekly contribution ranges from $128.34 for a single individual to $441.54 for a family.[32] Under the PPO and the HMO, the state contributes biweekly $181.26 per individual and $505.02 per family.[33][34]

Dental and Vision Insurance are offered to employees at very small premiums. The premium for dental insurance for single coverage is $1.02 biweekly and family coverage costs $2.68 biweekly.[35] For vision insurance the bi-weekly premium is 17 cents and family coverage is $2.52.[36]

Life The rate for the basic life insurance offered by the state is $0.1165 per $1,000 of salary to $0.0515 per $1,000 of salary.[37] Employees also have the option of selecting supplemental and dependent life insurance.[37]

Health Savings Accounts The Health Savings Account (HSA) program has two parts: a Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) and an HSA. A companion of the CDHPs, HSAs will once again be pre-funded by the state, with half of the state’s contribution deposited into the participating employee’s accounts. A prerequisite for that contribution is that the participating employees must open an HSA account with Tower Bank.[38] For HSA1 single coverage, the state initially contributes $687.96 and then contributes $26.46 biweekly, whereas the initial contribution for family coverage is $1,375.14, with bi-weekly contributions of $52.89.[38] Those with CDHP/HSA2, single coverage, the state front loads the employee’s account with $413.40, with bi-weekly contributions of $15.90. Family coverage starts with $825.24, followed by $31.74 in bi-weekly contributions by the state.[38]

Flexible Spending Account Flexible Spending Accounts provide the opportunity to set aside pre-tax dollars from each paycheck for reimbursement of qualified medical and/or dependent care expenses. The FSA become limited use if the employee is participating in CDHP/HSA.[39]

Holidays Employees of the State of Illinois receive the following 12 paid vacation days:[40]:

  • New Years Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Good Friday
  • Primary Election Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • General Election Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Lincoln's Birthday (observed day after Thanksgiving)
  • Washington's Birthday (observed day before Christmas is observed)
  • Christmas Day

Pensions

A recent study by economists Joshua Rauh of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business concluded that the Indiana pension fund will run out of money in 2020.[41] Should the pension fund run out of money then, the cost the following year would be $3.6 billion, which would be 17% of state revenue.[42]

Funding Levels

The state's pension liabilities can be calculated in a variety of ways, which yield different numbers. Below are the numbers as calculated by to the Pew Center on the States[43], the American Enterprise Institute[44] and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.[45]

In Thousands
PEW AEI Kellogg (2009)
$9,825,830 $33,756,655 $30,200,000

Other information from the Pew Center on the States Feb. 2010 publication "The Trillion Dollar Gap":

State Pension Funding Levels 2008 (figures are in thousands)[46]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$35,640,073 $9,825,830 $1,232,347 $1,275,191
State Retiree Healthcare and Other Non-Pension Benefits Funding 2008 (figures are in thousands)[46]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$442,268 $442,268 $45,963 $10,218
Underfunded pension liabilities
Number of pension plans Pension assets ($bn) Stated liabilities ($bn) Funding status (% of tax revenue)
2 $15.5 $36.4 -335%

This data is based on projected data from 2008 census data.[47] In 2008, $1.94 trillion was set aside for pensions, but it is estimated that states have $5.17 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Rate of Return

Indiana presumes a 7.50% return rate on its pension investments.[46]

Contribution Rates

As of July 1, 2010, the TRF employer contribution rate rose from 7% to 7.5%.[48]

Eligiblity

A TRS member may become eligible for normal (unreduced) retirement[49]:

  • at age 65 with at least 10 years of creditable service
  • at age 60 with at least 15 years of creditable service
  • at age 55 if age and creditable service total at least 85 (This scenario is referred to as the "Rule of 85")

Public Records

The Indiana Access to Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Indiana.

The Indiana Open Door Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.

To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: Indiana FOIA procedures.

External links

References

  1. Indianapolis Business Journal "Indiana state budget website gets new features" March 14, 2011
  2. Business Week, New Ind. website pulls together state budget data, Sept. 1, 2010
  3. Indiana, Budgets, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  4. Indiana, Check Register, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  5. Indiana, Revenues and Expenditures, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  6. Indiana, Reports, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  7. Indiana, Accountability, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  8. Indiana, Performance and Accountability, Accessed: DATE
  9. Indiana, Performance Audits, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  10. Indiana, Legislative Officials, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  11. Indiana, Financial Disclosure Statements, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  12. Indiana, Agencies, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  13. Indiana, Find a Person, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  14. Indiana, Salaries, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  15. Indiana, Salaries, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  16. Indiana, Ethics Commission, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  17. Indiana, Investigative Hotline, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  18. Indiana, OIG Reports, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  19. Indiana, Procurement Information, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  20. State, Contracts, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  21. State, Contracts, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  22. Indiana, Meetings, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  23. Indiana, Lobbying, Accessed: March 3, 2013
  24. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  25. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  26. Indiana Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  27. "House votes for transparency in city-casino deals" NWI April 8, 2011
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 2008 Indiana Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  29. 29.0 29.1 NPR.com "Credit Scares: Thriftier States Reduce Red Ink" July 22, 2010
  30. Eligibility Requirements for Benefits
  31. Health
  32. CDHP
  33. PPO
  34. HMO
  35. Dental Plan
  36. Vision Plan
  37. 37.0 37.1 Life Insurance
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Health Savings Accounts
  39. Flexible Spending Account
  40. State Holidays
  41. New Mexico, Study: NM state pension plan will run out of money in 13 years, Sept. 9, 2010
  42. Yahoo! Finance “11 state Pension Funds That May Run Out of Money Oct. 18, 2010
  43. "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
  44. Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
  45. Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010
  47. Northwestern University, The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans, May 2010
  48. Contribution Rate Press Release
  49. TRF Eligiblity