There are 254 counties in the state of Texas, but today one county, in particular, stands above the rest. Last week, in a tremendous victory for taxpayers, Collin County became the first county government in American history to post detailed spending information online for taxpayers to see. The finances of local government are the next frontier in government transparency.
Today’s evolving view of responsible government has meant that many state governments have posted more detailed spending information online for taxpayers. Local governments have been much slower to follow suit, even though local spending outpaces state spending in many states.
In an attempt to justify explosive budget growth, many local governments have begun to post their adopted budgets online. But these only provide a financial roadmap of local government spending and lack the precision and detail that a check register can provide.
By taking the next step in transparency and posting its check register online, Collin County has shown its commitment to accurate financial reporting and good governance. As citizens, it is our privilege to celebrate such responsible public leadership. As taxpayers, it is our challenge to make sure that everyone else – especially the remaining 253 Texas counties – understands its importance.
– James Quintero