Texas’ local governments are awash in red ink. In fiscal year 2015, the principal amount of debt owed by cities, counties, school districts, and special districts in Texas amounted to $212.4 billion, “an increase of $20.09 billion (10.4%) over the past five fiscal years,” according to the Bond Review Board. On a per capita basis, that level of indebtedness translates into an obligation of $7,750 owed per person.
Of course, the burden is even greater when interest is accounted for. Texas’ total local debt, including principal and interest, stood at more than $338 billion in fiscal year 2015. On a per capita basis, the tab for each Texan amounts to roughly $12,250 while the bill for a family of four is almost $50,000.