Not only is Collin County one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, it’s now leading the nation in full fiscal transparency. Located north of Dallas and encompassing Plano, McKinney and Frisco, taxpayers there now have unprecedented access to the county’s spending in almost real time. The first county in the nation to do so, we’ll see if Texas’ 253 other counties voluntarily follow suit.

County Judge Keith Self, the commissioners and auditor Don Cozard launched the Fiscal Transparency Project with the tag line “It’s Your Money, So…”

Open to review 24 hours, day and night, taxpayers can check out the payments made to the DISH Network, for example, and see down to the penny how their money is being spent. It’s a work in progress, but the website raises the standard for local government around the country.

Judge Self has distinguished himself as a strong leader who understands the importance of practically applying his principles into the daily grind of administering Collin County. While other county judges around the state balk at such high levels of fiscal transparency, Self and his colleagues have embraced it as the cornerstone of good government.

With bureaucrats knowing that taxpayers can monitor expenditures, it will force greater efficiency. We all behave better when we know we’re being watched.

The fiscally responsible bent of the Collin County commissioners is evident not just in transparency. At a time when school districts, cities and counties elsewhere in the state are threatening tax hikes to cover increased expenses, Collin County taxpayers can look forward to a tax rate cut as well as a larger “homestead” exemption on their residential property.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."