in Houston, Texas
Texas recognized as top state for financial transparency
Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012, 02:26PM CST
By Steve Miller

Texas receives an ‘A’ for its online portal that shows state spending and ranks #1 among the states for financial transparency in a report put together by the the United States Public Interest Research Group, or U.S. PIRG.

In its report, Following the Money 2012, Texas is followed by Kentucky, which also received an ‘A’ grade. Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Arizona all had ‘A-“ grades.

The credit goes to the state Comptroller’s office, where Susan Combs, Texas comptroller of public accounts, has put together an impressive database for searching for vendors, as well as state contracts. You can even search by NIGP code. What is NIGP? National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, of course.

PIRG reports that over the past two years, the number of states giving the public access to their spending has increased from 32 to 46.

We laud the transparency efforts led by Combs, the former commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture.

And in one more step for transparency, thanks to Combs' disclosures on her personal financial statement from 2009, we were able to track down that she received $33,207 in farm subsidies between 2007 and 2009 for her livestock ranch in Brewster County, according to the Environmental Working Group's data crunchers. She is the sole proprietor of the Susan Combs Ranch in the West Texas county, also known as Combs CattleRecords show that the ranch failed to file its franchise tax report on time in early 2000 but was quickly reinstated.

Seriously, Combs has done a great job with transparency, and it’s great to see the national recognition for the way she has led the state in that regard.

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or

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Photo of an A grade used via the American University of Paris.

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