AUSTIN – The Texas Bond Review Board’s newly published local government debt statistics for fiscal year 2014 show a rising tide of red ink. For FY 2014, local government debt outstanding (principal only) stood at an estimated $205.3 billion while local government debt service outstanding (remaining principal and interest) totaled $333.1 billion. Both figures represent an estimated $5 billion increase over the previous fiscal year. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Local Governance Director James Quintero issued the following statement:
“Local government debt in Texas has reached alarming levels. New local debt statistics for fiscal 2014 reveal red ink totaling $333.1 billion or about $12,500 per Texan. That means that a family of four in Texas right now is indebted to the tune of roughly $50,000 thanks to local government largesse,” said Quintero. “Texas’ local governments have, for years, struggled with issuing debt responsibly. Consider that in the Texas Comptroller’s Your Money and Local Debt report, the state’s top accountant estimated that the accumulation of local government debt had outpaced population growth and inflation by a factor of more than 2-to-1 from 2001 to 2011. That’s simply not sustainable.
“State and local officials need to be aggressive in arresting the growth of local debt before the situation gets out of hand. Fortunately for officials, and Texans who pay the taxes, key conservative groups, including the Texas Public Policy Foundation, have already identified and are advocating for commonsense solutions, which can be found in the report, Ensuring Debt Transparency, Accountability, & Fair Elections.”
James Quintero is the Director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.