COLUMBIA, SC – November 18, 2008 – Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom on Tuesday said the steadily-improved time to prepare and publish the State’s annual financial report is part of his office’s effort to promote better transparency for government.
Two-thousand nine will be the Year of Transparency in South Carolina, Eckstrom said. Not only are we working to make our state government the most transparent in the nation, but we’ll continue to encourage better transparency at the municipal and county levels.
His office has one of the nation’s best records when it comes to the timely release of statewide audited financial reports, according to studies done by the National Association of State Comptrollers. Since 2002, South Carolina is the only state to improve every year the number of days it takes to compile and release its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This report is available on his Web site at www.cg.sc.gov.
Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom unveiled the report Tuesday, which this year was prepared in 135 days. That’s compared with 241 days for 2002, the year before he was elected Comptroller General. Eckstrom is the first Certified Public Accountant to serve the State in this position.
Eckstrom also spoke of several of his office’s other government transparency initiatives, including his new spending transparency Web site. The site — linked to the Comptroller General’s Office site (www.cg.sc.gov) — contains detailed spending information for more than 80 state agencies.
He also revealed his plans to work with municipal, school district, and county governments to encourage them to put spending information on the Web, and is offering to host their data on the Comptroller General’s Office Web site so that interested parties can access spending information at a single convenient site.
Providing citizens with easy access to how public dollars are spent is a giant step toward improving accountability and transparency, said Eckstrom. Taxpayers have an absolute right for government to be as open and forthcoming with information as possible. Public officials who are genuinely committed to the best interest of the people should have nothing to fear from improved transparency.