83rd Legislative SessionTexas Lobbyist

Texas 83rd Legislative Session Report: Comptroller Backs Transparency Bills

The following is a digest of a story that originally appeared at the Times Record News on February 9th, 2013.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs joined legislative leadership Thursday to announce the filing of legislation aimed at improving government transparency and empowering taxpayers to make informed decisions about taxes and public debt.

Senate Bill 14 and House Bill 14, authored by state Sen. Tommy Williams and state Rep. Jim Pitts are focused primarily on government transparency and would provide taxpayers with vital information about government spending and debt.

Senate Bill 13 and House Bill 13, authored by state Sen. Robert Duncan and state Rep.  Bill Callegari are focused primarily on public pensions.  They would require increased reporting for all public pension systems and call for essential actuarial information to be posted online so that it is readily available and easy for taxpayers to find.

Most voters do not know how much debt they are carrying, and how much debt service they are paying before they choose to vote for more, Combs said. This transparency legislation would require that additional information be included on the ballot when new debt is presented to voters for approval. It would also limit certificates of obligation, which governments use to issue debt without voter approval. Lastly, the transparency legislation would require all taxing entities to post financial information online, including revenues and expenditures and detailed information on long-term debt obligations.

The pension legislation would require public pensions across the state to publicly report actuarial information and calls for mandatory education for public pension system administrators. For more information, visit www.texasitsyourmoney.org