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Hon. Susan Combs

State of Texas

On her fourth day as Texas Comptroller in 2007, Combs made all of her agency’s expenditures publicly available online. That fall, she posted expenditures for all state agencies. This launched what has been widely recognized as the nation’s most innovative transparency effort, one that has inspired many other states and the national government to contact her office for guidance. 

As Comptroller, Combs has continued that commitment to transparency, issuing reports and accompanying Web tools that opened the books on state and local government finances. Texans continue to use these tools to study state agency spending in fine detail, and to learn local sales and property tax rates for every local government in the state. Fully interactive maps provide detailed debt statistics on all Texas cities, counties, school districts and community college districts. 

As the state’s treasurer, check writer, tax collector, procurement officer and revenue estimator, Combs brings a fiscally conservative philosophy to her office. Combs insists that taxpayer money be spent wisely, and has worked to ensure that both citizens and their elected officials have a true accounting of the state’s finances. 

Her commitment to rooting out and eliminating wasteful government spending led Combs to save more than $12 million inside the Comptroller’s office by streamlining processes and identifying efficiencies. Across all state agencies, her strategic sourcing initiative has saved Texas taxpayers $164 million. Additionally, by centralizing a variety of procurement functions through her office, Combs has also been able to reduce operational and administrative costs for state agency procurement activity by over $200 million over just five fiscal years, ending in fiscal year 2013. 

Because she possesses a keen understanding that citizens have a right to their unclaimed property, Combs streamlined the process of returning money to its rightful owners and, as a result, has returned more than $1.25 billion since taking office in 2007 – more money than was returned in the combined 44 years prior to her taking office.