Better Government Through Better Information

Legislation filed today would increase government transparency, requiring greater information be available to taxpayers about public debt while ensuring the state’s pensions are making their actuarial data more readily available.

The legislation was inspired by the work of Comptroller Susan Combs looking for shortcomings in — and improvements for — the state’s long-term fiscal health.

Susan Combs
“People need to know what their government is doing, and how it spends their money,” Comptroller Combs said in a press release. “We need to implement common-sense changes that put vital information about government spending and debt in front of the public.”

House Bill 14 (by Rep. Jim Pitts) and Senate Bill 14 (by Sen. Tommy Williams) would require more information about existing local government debt when being asked to take on new burdens. It includes new limits on the “certificates of obligation” governmental entities can impose without voter approval.

“Senate Bill 14 will ensure the CO process is not abused and will give the power back to the taxpayers, the people who are actually paying the freight, by requiring governments to tell voters how they can petition for an election, and by also reducing the number of voters required to petition for an election,” said Sen. Williams.

House Bill 13 (By Rep. Bill Callegari) and Senate Bill 13 (by Sen. Robert Duncan) deal with public pensions.

According to Rep. Callegari, his legislation is “aimed at protecting the taxpayers who foot the bills for public pensions and the employees who deserve to know if their retirements are financially secure.”

All four measures are noted as “priority legislation” on the Fiscal Responsibility Index.

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Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president, and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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