The Transparency website was a fine and noble idea. Gov. Phil Bryant (who was then lieutenant governor) and others who pushed for the passage of a 2008 law creating it were rightfully praised. But it needs much work. It needs more funding, staffing and some means of standardizing data (or at least verifying it’s accurate).
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from former DFA Director Kevin Upchurch about the site and the state’s antiquated accounting computer system (which has since been upgraded):
“We’ve got an old system that can’t do a lot, and it’s held together with bubblegum and bailing wire,” Upchurch said at the time. “And then we’d gotten a taste of transparency, which is wonderful, but we realize, man, it’s like you’re asking us to move this mountain of dirt, and all we have is a bicycle.”