Gov. Abbott Calls for Local Debt Transparency


Local government debt continues to soar. According to the Bond Review Board’s latest estimates, cities, counties, school districts, and special districts owe a cumulative $342 billion, or roughly $12,450 for every man, woman, and child in the Lone Star State.

One of the major drivers of the debt increase is voters’ lack of information at the ballot box. Voters simply aren’t provided with all of the necessary details to make an informed decision in the voting booth, i.e. the tax implications of their decision or the amount needed to pay off the new obligation in full.

Fortunately, several bills have been filed in the House and the Senate to improve local debt transparency (no doubt, some of those bills stemming from solid recommendations put forward by the Senate IGR in its interim committee report). And now, Governor Abbott is also stressing the need for greater government transparency at the ballot box.

From the Governor’s new Budget for 2018-19 (pg. 11):

Source: Texas Governor’s Budget for 2018-19

Should this idea come to life, it will mark an important milestone in the fight to empower voters and put them in the best position “to limit the growth in their own local taxes.”