Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
November 23, 2010

Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle List Tops 250 Honorees

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced today that more than 250 local government entities have qualified for Leadership Circle recognition, which honors transparency efforts at a local level.

So far, 264 local governments across Texas have earned a spot in the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle by posting budgets, financial reports and/or check registers online. Combs launched the program in December 2009 to recognize cities, counties, school districts and other local governments that have taken their first steps toward openness, shown continued progress or excelled in setting new transparency standards.

“I applaud the many cities and local government entities around the state that now post spending information and other public documents online,” Combs said. “These efforts provide fine examples for other local governments to emulate and build upon as they embark on transparency efforts. The Leadership Circle spurs on that sort of collaboration, creating interest and encouraging discussion in transparency efforts.”

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. 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.

“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,” Combs said. “We’re promoting greater accountability and raising expectations for customer service and government transparency at all levels.”

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 raise the bar for transparency and accountability in state government, Combs has taken proactive steps since January 2007 to provide an open window on state spending. To view the state’s transparency efforts and tools, go to www.TexasTransparency.org.


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