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Freshman State Rep. Mark Keough has filed legislation to force counties to be more transparent to taxpayers. HB 317 would require counties in Texas with populations higher than 45,000 to create and maintain an online searchable database of all county expenditures.

“HB 317 would allow every citizen in Texas the ability to monitor and understand exactly where their money goes at the local level,” says Rep. Keough. “In our current economic times, taxpayers increasingly ask, ‘where does the money go?’” By creating a database for county expenditures, citizens across the state of Texas would be gaining a valuable tool to ensure that their tax dollars are spent prudently.

Often, citizens want to know exactly how much is spent on a project, or what money is being spent on by their county officials. However, the difficulty of obtaining that information has been prohibitive, preventing active citizens with full-time jobs and other responsibilities from obtaining necessary information. Currently, the only way for a citizen to obtain that information is through public information requests, which can take time. Not only do they take time but, depending on the governmental entity, the request process can be delayed, disputed and legally challenged for months just for the disclosure of basic financial information such as line-item or project-specific expenditures. If well maintained, an easy-to-use, accessible mechanism for organizing and instantly obtaining that information would be invaluable to taxpayers.

“I am proud to stand up for Texas, the citizens of Montgomery County and House District 15, ensuring that every level of government is as transparent and open as ‘we the people’ demand. I look forward to a great legislative session, working with my new colleagues fighting to keep Texas working. Our state has been the only beacon of hope in this country’s economy, and I will work hard every day to ensure Texas remains number one,” Keough said.

Kudos to Rep. Keough for supporting taxpayers over special interests, and taking an important, common-sense step in the fight for greater transparency in government!