June 28, 2011
Several of the budget transparency provisions pushed by state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, made it into the final version of a key budget-related bill that won final Senate approval today.
Among the components of Watson’s “honesty agenda” included in Senate Bill 1 are the following:
An annual public meeting of the Legislative Budget Board to get an update on the state’s fiscal condition. Earlier, Watson and Comptroller Susan Combs announced that updates on a host of fiscal indicators will be posted monthly on the comptroller’s web site.
Budget documents provided to legislative committees will be posted online.
A public hearing must be held when state leaders call for budget reduction when the Legislature is not in session.
The comptroller will publish an annual fee schedule that will include how much of the fee is diverted from its original purpose to help balance the budget.
The committee of state leaders that sets the ceiling for issuing short-term debt would need to meet annually and hold a public hearing before doing so.
In a separate bill that passed during the regular session, state agencies are required to post online sets of public data that they collect, as long as it doesn’t add to the agency’s costs.