Comptroller Releases Ideas for More Open Budget

Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, speaks with a member of the audience during TribLive, a monthly conversation with public officials held by the Texas Tribune.
Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, speaks with a member of the audience during TribLive, a monthly conversation with public officials held by the Texas Tribune.

We've learned more about Comptroller Susan Combs' ideas for opening up more of her agency's data, as she announced at last week's TribLive event.

Here's a breakdown of the plans, according to Combs spokesman Allen Spelce:

• Placing responses to common open-records requests on a public server free for anyone to download

• Expanding the "Where The Money Goes" feature, which allows users to search for state spending

• Making as many as 15 new raw data sets, in text and Microsoft Excel formats, available and free to download

Spelce said the agency has set a goal of having the new features by April. We'll track the progress and report back on the initiative, which we hope might lead to other agencies doing the same.

The Texas Ethics Commission, for example, last week decided to make its full campaign-finance database available for download. That's 350 MB of data, and more than 6 million records, at no charge.

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