November 10, 2011
The State of Texas has fulfilled a major component of State Senator Kirk Watson’s Honesty Agenda, unveiling on Thursday a website that will provide monthly updates on the state’s fiscal condition.
The website, called Monthly State Revenue Watch, can be found at http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxbud/bre2012/revenueWatch/. It shows how much money Texas is collecting from nearly two dozen revenue sources, ranging from sales taxes to federal funds to lottery proceeds.
“Particularly in these difficult budget times, the public needs as much information as possible about the state’s fiscal condition,” Senator Watson said. “This website will ensure Texans know more about truly public finances, and it will help us all better prepare for budget problems before they strike in a legislative session.”
Senator Watson and Comptroller Susan Combs jointly announced the creation of the website in April as part of the Honesty Agenda, a series of measures proposed by Senator Watson a year ago to create both more openness about the state’s budget and more honesty about the budgeting process.
A link to the website is prominently displayed at www.window.state.tx.us. Site visitors will be able to compare year-to-date revenue collections both with the equivalent figures from the previous year, and with estimated totals that those sources were projected to collect for the full fiscal year.
“This website will provide more public knowledge about the state’s resources to meet basic needs in education, health and human services, and other areas,” said Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities.
The website follows a letter that Senator Watson sent to the Comptroller in September 2010 requesting more information about Texas’ fiscal condition. About four months after the letter was sent, the Comptroller’s office released a revenue estimate demonstrating that the legislature faced a budget shortfall that was estimated to be as high as $27 billion.