Current state law requires all cities, counties, school districts, and special districts in Texas to purchase advertising space in print newspapers to publicize their public notices. House Bill 335 would relax that requirement to allow local governments to post public notices online instead of in print, potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars every year. 


To better illustrate the savings at stake, we decided to submit Public Information Act requests to the top 5 counties, cities, and school districts in Texas asking them for the following information:


“…the total amount expended by [NAME OF LOCAL ENTITY] for newspaper ads for public notices for the fiscal year of 2012.”  


Here is what we found:


Local Govt.

FY 2012 Estimate

City of Dallas


City of Fort Worth


City of Austin


Tarrant County


Travis County


Harris County


Bexar County


Dallas County


Fort Worth ISD


Austin ISD


Dallas ISD


Northside ISD


Houston ISD



$1.56 million



According to James Quintero, TPPF’s Sr. Fiscal Policy Analyst who testified recently to the House Committee on Technology on this issue: “As you can see from the totals listed above, local governments around the state are incurring annual expenses for advertising that run into the millions. For just the [13] cities, counties, and school districts listed above, the total amounts to [$1.56] million. These are resources that are not available to schools, roads, libraries, or any other purpose—but they could be.”



[i] Harris County’s response to the open records request could not be tabulated before the committee hearing.