“Almost 53 percent of spending by Texas governments is done at the local level. Unfortunately, detailed information on that local spending is virtually inaccessible to taxpayers, who are the true local control.

“As our new report Texas Transparency: Then and Now published earlier this week shows, Texas’ experience with spending transparency undercuts all the excuses not to provide detailed expenditure information to the public. The technology is available, powerful, and inexpensive. The state’s savings were many times the startup costs, and hundreds of local school districts have seen value in embracing spending transparency.

“Texas has set the national standard in spending transparency thanks largely to Comptroller Susan Combs’ leadership. Today’s debut of the Texas Transparency Check-Up website affirms her commitment to open government.

“Texas already has open records and open meetings. The next step toward transparent and accountable government is open checkbooks, and the 81st Texas Legislature should make that the standard for local governments as it already is for the state. Taxpayers deserve to know how all levels of government are spending their money.”

The Honorable Talmadge Heflin is Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin. Heflin served 11 terms in the Texas House of Representatives and chaired the House Appropriations Committee in 2003, leading the Texas Legislature’s successful efforts to close a $10 billion budget deficit without a tax increase.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin. More information can be found on the Foundation’s primary website, www.TexasPolicy.com, or its government spending transparency website, www.TexasBudgetSource.com.

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