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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2010

Combs Returns Unclaimed Property in Lufkin and Nacogdoches,

Honors Local Governments for Transparency

(Lufkin–Nacogdoches) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today said the city of Lufkin has received nearly $911 this year in unclaimed property, and Angelina County reclaimed $5,583 in unclaimed property in 2009, while Nacogdoches County reclaimed $1,066.

“Cities, counties and school districts face challenges in this tough economy,” Combs said. “Our office has expanded its efforts to help government entities reclaim property, and I applaud the taxing entities in this community for taking the initiative to get this money back and put it to work for the taxpayers.”

Combs urges all area residents to check the Unclaimed Property List by visiting www.ClaimItTexas.org or calling (800) 654-FIND (3463) to see if they have money waiting to be claimed. The state is holding more than $2.48 million in unclaimed property for people and businesses in Angelina County and $2.23 million in unclaimed property in Nacogdoches County. The Comptroller estimates 33 out of 100 people in Lufkin have unclaimed property, and 17 out of 100 people in Nacogdoches have money waiting to be claimed. Examples of unclaimed property include dividend, payroll or cashier’s checks; stocks, bonds and mutual fund accounts; utility deposits and other refunds; insurance proceeds; mineral interest or royalty payments; dormant bank accounts; and abandoned safe deposit box contents.

Also at events in both cities, Combs recognized local governments for meeting high standards in fiscal transparency. The city of Lufkin, Woden Independent School District and Nacogdoches Independent School District all received gold status in the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle, and the city of Nacogdoches received a bronze award. The Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle program recognizes cities, counties, school districts and other local governments that have taken their first steps toward openness, shown progress or even exceeded transparency standards in providing online access to their expenses and revenue.

“We appreciate the work of school district and city officials who shine a light on spending and ensure greater accountability to the taxpayers,” Combs said. “We’re opening financial records for public examination so taxpayers can see exactly where their money is going, promoting greater accountability and raising expectations for customer service and government transparency at all levels.”

Local governments receiving an award have opened their books to the public and provide clear, consistent pictures of spending with detailed information on how tax dollars are allocated and spent. These top-ranking entities provide information online in an easily accessible, user-friendly format with features that allow taxpayers to easily drill down for more detailed information.

For tips and a step-by-step guide to achieve local government transparency, as well as a complete list of local governments in the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle sorted by city, county and school district, visit www.TexasTransparency.org/local/. New entities are typically added on a weekly basis.

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