Texas’ quest for transparent government continues its impressive march forward.

Earlier this month, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs’ transparency website – Where the Money Goes – expanded the number of ways users can analyze state spending data to include Agency Budget vs. Actual Expenditures, Expenditures by Agency Strategy, and Expenditures by Funding Source.

With these three new drilldown features, users can easily compare what an agency thinks it will spend versus what it actually does, so as to better gauge where an agency’s spending priorities lie.

These tools are invaluable as an educational resource, but they also have a practical purpose: opening up opportunities to save tax dollars.

The Comptroller’s prior transparency work has already proven that the technology can be leveraged to reap financial benefits. In fact, the $300,000 initial investment has now produced benefits totaling $8.7 million from such simple things as eliminating duplicative services, consolidating contracts, and canceling unused pagers.

With these new additions to the Where the Money Goes site, taxpayers can be all but certain that new opportunities exist to identify additional savings.

However, if the Comptroller’s efforts to make government more transparent are to come to full fruition, Texas local governments are going to have to step up to the plate to a greater degree.

– James Quintero