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Following a report criticizing lack of transparency at the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), the Texas Sunset Commission examined the agency at a hearing today. The Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG) called on the Commission and state Legislature to adopt reforms to LCRA to provide greater transparency.
"Citizens' ability to understand how their tax dollars are spent is fundamental to democracy," said Bay Scoggin, Director of TexPIRG. "Budget and spending transparency holds government officials accountable for making smart decisions, checks corruption, and provides citizens an opportunity to affect how government dollars are spent. It's time for a dose of sunlight at LCRA."
Staff of the Sunset Commission found in its review of LCRA that the authority "does not provide a sufficiently transparent picture of its internal accounting, with public documents lacking the detail and interpretation needed to promote full understanding."
This Sunset Commission report echoes the findings of the TexPIRG Education Fund report, Following the Money 2017: Governing in Shadows, which gave LCRA a grade of 'D' for transparency. The report found that "while the district has in the past provided checkbook-level spending, the district has since stopped publishing this information. The district lists currently open procurement bids on its website with no awarded contract bids."
The Sunset Commission staff recommended that LCRA "financial staff should work with public communications staff to ensure information is conveyed in a digestible and understandable way."
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