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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
August 24, 2010

Combs Honors Local Governments for Financial Transparency
During Lubbock Event

(AUSTIN) — During a visit to Lubbock today, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs recognized several local governments for meeting high standards in fiscal transparency. Lubbock County, the cities of Abernathy, Idalou and Lorenzo, and the Frenship, Lubbock-Cooper, New Deal and Shallowater Independent School Districts received gold status in the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle, a program that 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. Lamb County and Sundown ISD achieved the bronze status.

More than 200 local governments across Texas have earned a spot in the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle by posting budgets, financial reports and/or check registers online. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs launched the program in December 2009.

“We appreciate the work of local officials who shine a light on spending and ensure greater accountability to the taxpayers,” Combs said. “When we talk about transparency in terms of government spending, 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.”

Through the Leadership Circle program, the Comptroller’s office awards certificates based on a self-scoring checklist that evaluates how local governments provide online access to their expenses and revenue. Local governments receiving a gold, silver or bronze Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle 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 and set up 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.

As part of an ongoing effort to set new standards for transparency and accountability in state government, Combs has taken proactive steps since January 2007 to provide an open window on state spending. Transparency efforts in Texas have yielded cost savings of $51 million since 2007. To view the state’s transparency efforts and tools, go to www.TexasTransparency.org.

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