STATE POLICYMAKERS APPROVE

COUNTY BUDGET TRANSPARENCY

 

"Only eight Arkansas counties post annual budgets online for citizens while others publish an annual appropriation notice in the paper of record, a legal requirement. Every county should post its budget in an easily-accessible format." Policy Foundation, 20181

 

(June 2019) All 75 Arkansas counties will be required to post their annual budgets online starting in 2020, according to a measure approved unanimously by state legislators and signed into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

 

PA 5642 was sponsored by state Rep. Spencer Hawks, R-Conway, following reports by the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics (ACRE)3 and the Policy Foundation that found only a few counties posted fiscal information online in a format easily accessible to citizens. The Policy Foundation researched all 75 counties in 2017 and found only eight posted their budgets online.  The counties are Baxter, Benton, Craighead, Faulkner, Garland, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Washington.

 

The recently-enacted measure states:

 

"Before the end of each fiscal year, the quorum court shall make appropriations for the expenses of county government for the following year. Upon the final passage of the annual appropriations ordinance ... the county clerk shall publish the ordinance and annual budget on a website owned or maintained by the county, the state, or the Association of Arkansas Counties. The clerk of the county court shall cause to be published one (1) time in one (1) newspaper published in the county publish the annual financial report of the county: One (1) time in one (1) newspaper published in the county; and On a website owned or maintained by the county, the state, or the Association of Arkansas Counties."

 

-- Greg Kaza



1 Policy Foundation research memo (April 2018) "County Budget Transparency."

2 'An Act To Amend The Law Concerning Publication Of the Annual Financial Report Of The County'

3 Arkansas County Government cannot be ‘Transparent’ when One-Third of them have No Web Presence by J.T. Schrock, CPA; and Improve Transparency in Arkansas: Every Arkansas County Needs Fiscal Data Available On-Line by Schrock and David Mitchell, Ph.D.