This commentary originally appeared in the Austin American-Statesman on March 17, 2015.
Texans believe in government transparency and accountability. For this reason, we have some of the most advanced open-government initiatives in the nation. Yet one policy area remains outside the view of the general public: economic development.
When local governments cut deals that result in millions in incentives, they can do it behind closed doors in “executive session” — legally — thanks to exceptions to the Open Meetings and Public Information Acts for “economic development negotiations.”
Fields is a senior policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Smith is the director of the Texas office of Public Citizen.