AFP Applauds Transparency Legislation

February 07, 2013

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs and Legislative Leaders Introduced Legislation on Local Debt and Pension Transparency
Statement by Peggy Venable, Director, Americans for Prosperity-Texas

AUSTIN – Americans for Prosperity-Texas has been the leader in calling public attention to the mounting local government debt in Texas.

Comptroller Susan Combs has joined the call for greater transparency and providing information for voters and taxpayers on just how much local government owes.

“Today, we salute Comptroller Combs along with bill sponsors who are working to help taxpayers get a handle on just how much money they owe in government debt,” explained Peggy Venable, AFP-TX State Director.

Legislation on transparency has been introduced by Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams and House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts. This legislation will provide more information online as well as on the ballot. The legislation will provide taxpayers with the information they need when considering local government funding and debt.

Public pension liability is another looming financial crisis across the country. Funding public pensions in Texas is a growing concern. The financial health of the 89 plans in Texas will be examined and other safeguards put in place with legislation being filed by Senate State Affairs Committee Chairman Robert Duncan and House Pensions Committee Chairman Bill Callegari.

“The measures proposed for these bills are sound. Elected officials, voters, and taxpayers need more information to make informed decisions,” Venable continued.

“Texas is second in the nation in local government debt. We are leaving our kids a legacy of debt, not the legacy we want to leave them.” 

“I recall a recent phone call with a school board member who was promoting a bond initiative and wanted to ask if we would not oppose it. I asked her how much debt the district was currently carrying. After a long silence, she said she was ashamed to say she didn’t know. I said her district is $1.1 billion in debt. It is important that elected officials and voters know how much debt they are carrying so they can make informed decisions moving forward. 

These bills will help provide us all with more information to help us make better decisions. We appreciate Comptroller Combs’ leadership and these legislators for carrying the legislation.” 

For further comments, contact Peggy Venable at (512) 423-2947 or pvenable@afptx.org.

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