The latest data suggests that the principal debt owed by cities, counties, school districts, and special districts has grown to almost $240 billion, a one-year increase of more than $10 billion. School districts and cities are the most heavily indebted types of government.

Key Points

  • Local government debt has surged in recent years, pushing property taxes up and creating long-lasting challenges.
  • Texas’ local debt per capita ($8,013) ranked second among the top 10 most populous states, behind only New York ($11,209).
  • When principal and interest are accounted for, the amount of local debt owed per person soars to more than $12,500.
  • School district debt ($137.9 billion) accounts for more than one-third of all local debt. City government debt ($113.5 billion) follows closely behind.