We've got one last chance to pass transparency legislation in the Texas House.
From Americans for Prosperity -- Texas:
The goal of SB 14 is to empower Texas voters with easily accessible knowledge of their current local government debt levels while also limiting debt issued without taxpayer approval. SB 14 would also require that special-purpose taxing entities demonstrate that they are serving the purpose for which they were created.From Texas Watchdog:
Senate bills 14 and 13 and their identical House counterparts establish, at the request of state Comptroller Susan Combs, new requirements for the posting of public debt, unfunded liabilities, borrowing and project costs on websites maintained by state and local agencies.
“People need to know what their government is doing, and how it spends their money,” Combs said in a statement she issued after a press conference announcing the filing of the bills. “We need to implement common-sense changes that put vital information about government spending and debt in front of the public.”
The state’s Bond Finance Office would post on a website a list of all outstanding local securities and schedules for their repayment. In turn, the issuers of local securities would submit reports of their activities to the state.
Under SB 14, the public would get more detailed information about the issuing of bonds, the rationale for their issuance and a tally of outstanding debt incurred by the bonds.
Local political bodies would be expected to file annual reports detailing all of their funds and their outstanding debt obligations. These reports would be posted on websites maintained by all cities, school districts and special taxing districts.
Once every three years each special taxing district in the state would be expected to prepare a report defending its existence and hold a public hearing to discuss the assessment.
The bill would also require school districts to create or to include on their websites detailed information about school facilities, enrollment, estimates of projected costs for new school projects and the current annual financial report.
Contact you legislator here.