Over the past few years, the state of Texas has actively pursued policies that promote transparency and accountability in public finance, and, as a result, proponents of government reform have realized some impressive milestones.

In 2007, the state officially launched its award-winning “Where the Money Goes,” a virtual check register for all state agencies, making Texas one of the first states in the nation to publicly post its expenditure data online.

In the following year, Collin County, Texas became the first county government in the nation to post its check register online, along with other financial reports for the public to scrutinize.

Then in 2009, the Texas Comptroller launched its Leadership Circle initiative to encourage local governments to adopt basic transparency measures, such as posting budgets, financial reports and check registers online. To date, the program has publicly recognized more than 200 cities, counties, school districts and special districts for their trend-setting efforts.

This week, another milestone was realized when Austin’s Capital Metro, one of the state’s largest transit authorities, became the only transit authority in Texas (and possibly the nation) to post detailed budget information, financial reports, executive salaries, a check register, and a purchase card transaction register online.

With the addition of Capital Metro to the list of transparent governmental entities, taxpayers are all the more closer to knowing where their tax dollars are being spent locally and by the state.

– James Quintero