Financial transparency is not a new concept for Texans.
The Texas Comptroller’s website, aptly called Window on State Government, has been providing information on state revenue, expenditures, taxes, and the state economy since transparency went mainstream. Now, the office of Comptroller Susan Combs has taken another step – more like a giant leap – toward putting information on city and county debt in the hands of taxpayers, investors, and the municipal bond market. Debt-at-a-Glance is a new feature that shows outstanding debt, trends in debt per capita, bond issuance, and comparisons with similar-size cities in the Lone Star State. The site also provides links to the respective city’s comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFR), along with a friendly guide to CAFRs.
This new tool is part of Tell the Truth Texas initiative, whose website was launched in July. The Tell the Truth Texas campaign is aimed at providing “more transparency into the spending and debt of Texas’ local governments, including cities, counties, school districts, community colleges and special-purpose districts across the state.”
The first set of data in the Debt-at-a-Glance series includes the 20 largest cities and counties in the state.