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(The Center Square) – New Jersey received a 72 out of a possible 100 score for financial transparency, dropping slightly from a year ago, a new analysis revealed.

As part of its Financial Transparency Score Report, Chicago-based Truth in Accounting (TIA) looked at fiscal 2020 data for all 50 states. The group determined transparency scores overall worsened compared to previous years.

New Jersey’s score was influenced by timeliness, accessibility and deferred items, and it also used an internal auditor. The state scored a zero out of 10 on TIA’s “Deferred Items” criteria as it does not correctly recognize pension plan gains or losses, distorting its overall net position.

“State governments have historically struggled to provide the public with meaningful information about their financial health,” TIA Founder and CEO Sheila Weinberg said in an announcement.

“We have seen reporting efforts hampered in the past by conflicts of interest, out-of-date information, and tardy publication,” Weinberg added. “The COVID-19 pandemic further hindered state governments’ ability to be transparent.”

The Garden State received a score of 74 last year.

According to the analysis, Utah topped the list with 88 points, followed by Maryland (87) and South Dakota (87). Colorado ranked last with a score of 46, edging out Georgia (54) and North Carolina (54).

TIA said it considers a score of 80 or higher as “noteworthy.” Regionally, Pennsylvania (82), Delaware (79), Connecticut (74) and New York (73) scored better than New Jersey.

The TIA report noted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding that every state received “highlighted weaknesses that existed in states’ unemployment insurance.”