United States Common Sense, a data-driven policy group, has launched GovRank.org. offers free public access to the financial data of state and local governments across the U.S., as well as their financial records and information about their fiscal performance in the years following the onset of the Great Recession.

The organization also researched the nature of fiscal distress and fiscal sustainability, and it developed a framework to compare fiscal performance across governments, making the results available on GovRank’s individual government profile pages.

GovRank’s more than half-million data points and the 100,000 PDF financial audits from which US Common Sense extracted them comprise the largest freely accessible public finance database and financial records repository in the nation.

The non-partisan 501(c)(3) non-profit spent a year quietly undertaking the civic engagement initiative, compiling the reports and an additional 70,000 budgets for governments that serve as few as 700 residents, and issuing over 10,000 public records requests.

It successfully developed a method to extract top line financial figures from comprehensive financial records and manually extracted the remainder.

The downloadable database includes government revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and public employee pension and non-pension liabilities for years dating back to 2008-09, which is the earliest date for which data was broadly available.

Here are the results for North Carolina: http://govrank.org/profile/state/north-carolina

For Raleigh: http://govrank.org/profile/city/raleigh-nc

For Durham: http://govrank.org/profile/county/durham-nc