March 4, 2016
Information is the most basic requirement for any free nation. Democracy can't survive and thrive unless citizens have the information they need to make informed decisions at the voting booth, and to hold those they elect accountable for their actions.
The Texas Comptroller's office is a national leader in the movement for greater government transparency, putting oceans of state and local financial data on the Web for all to see and use. Today, I'm proud to announce another step, a new program from our office that will highlight local government transparency efforts around our state — the Transparency Stars.
Transparency Stars will honor cities, counties and other local governments that go the extra mile in opening their books to the public. They can use our online application to apply for recognition in five important transparency areas.
Those that earn an initial star for basic financial transparency — for milestones such as online financial reports, budgets and audit results — will be able to go on and seek additional recognition in the categories of contracts and procurement, economic development, bond debt and public pensions, for stars in up to five areas.
Our selections will emphasize the importance of making transparency data user-friendly, with graphics, visualizations and downloadable datasets. Government data can be daunting without the tools and context needed to interpret it.
For more information on the program, including guidelines and qualification criteria, please visit our Transparency Stars website.
Thank you for all you do for Texas, and God bless,