AUSTIN (KXAN) - Transparency is the key to any successful government. With thestimulus money slowing making its way to Texas, the state'scomptroller, SusanCombs decided to show Texans exactly where the money was going to go.
"Our office is closely reviewing the American Recoveryand Reinvestment Act of 2009 to determine what it means forTexas," said Combs. "We will share information we have compiled sofar and continually update the Webpage as federal agencies provide more guidance on the fundingincluded in this complex and far-reaching plan."
The comptroller's purpose of this site was to help state andlocal officials and business leaders to track the billions forTexas. The site is similar to the Federal site, Recovery.gov,that notes where every dollar is allocated. However, the Combs'office thought of this site before Obama took office.
Texas comptroller spokesperson RJ DeSilva explained how theoffice took on transparency as a huge initiative in 2007.
The office formed "searchable databases where you can go findinformation on vendors...supplies that the state buys," saidDeSilva. "With that as a foundation, when the stimulus bill passed,certainly on the Federal level, there's an emphasis ontransparency. From our standpoint, we had the local foundation, inthat we had transparency in place already. So that's where the ideafrom this Webpage came."
The Web page is fully equiped with lots of information already.On the site, there is a place where anyone can
"We're helping people understand what different aspects of thestimulus package are out there," said DeSilva. "We've got
The question remains: Will the public use it? Some politicalexperts are remain skeptical.
"I think if Texans are aware of it, they may use it," saidVeronica Stidvent, director of the LBJ SchoolCenter for Politics and Governance. "First, people have tolearn that it exists, and that is the challenge in gettinginformation to the public."
DeSilva thinks the general public may not utilize itextensively, however, he thinks another group of people will findit extremely useful.
"I think, certainly part of the push is for local governments touse it," said DeSilva. "A huge chunk of the stimulus money is goingto flow through state agencies or existing programs...but there'salso quite a bit of money out there for local governments, forbusinesses, small businesses that could apply for this moneydirectly. We have seen interest in it after we launched it."
Stidvent feels there are ways this stimulus can help Texas.
"I think there are some aspects that may help the economy," saidStidvent. "Like any large piece of legislation, the devil is in thedetails. As a general matter, it is difficult to address complexeconomic policy issues quickly and precisely."
The comptroller's officer is trying to remain proactive inkeeping the Texas public informed on the reinvestment act. Stidventfeels the government still has a lot to do during this stimulusprocess.
"During times of crisis, the American public can have littletolerance for delay and inaction," said Stidvent. "But, often whatis needed is thoughtful, measured response. I would hope that ourelected officials would put good governance ahead of short-termpolitical gain and take the time necessary to arrive at the rightpolicy."
The Website is updated daily and will track every penny in Texas oncethe stimulus money starts rolling in to the Lone Star State.
To view the full interview with DeSilva, watch below:
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