Mississippi has again received a grade of C+ in government spending transparency according to a report released Wednesday.

“This year, most states have made their budgets more open to the public, allowing users to better scrutinize how the government uses their tax dollars,” said Phineas Baxandall, analyst with U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which released its sixth annual report Wednesday. “Mississippi, however, has remained stagnant, with a long way to go.”

The report comes as the Legislature is considering several transparency and contract spending reform measures in the wake of the prisons contract bribery and other corruption scandals.

“Our grade ought to be an A-plus,” said state House Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Chairman Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn. “That’s where I’m planning to go with it. If I get my legislation passed, we’ll go to the head of the class.”

The House has passed Turner’s “omnibus” reform act that would crack down on no-bid government contracts, close loopholes and increase oversight and even require government officials to report expensive gifts they receive. The Senate, which killed contract reform measures last year, has passed weaker measures. Turner says he hopes the House proposals can prevail in conference as the legislative session draws to a close.

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