Local government debt continues to surprise Texas taxpayers

July 11, 2013

WOAI aired a great news article on local debt in Texas – specifically in San Antonio, but they also ranted on the Houston debt – and local debt across the Lone Star State. You need to hear this: (WOAI – Skyrocketing Local Debt 5-29-13[6])

$195 billion in local debt doesn’t include interest rates – when interest is included (and you do pay interest), it is a whopping $324 billion. And it does not include local government public pension unfunded liabilities. The Comptroller’s report on those liabilities can be found here: http://www.texastransparency.org/yourmoney/pdf/TexasItsYourMoney-Pensions.pdf

Cities, counties, school districts, hospital districts, and more local taxing entities have debt – debt that we taxpayers owe. Only a fraction of Texas’ local government debt is fee-supported. Most of it is paid in your property taxes. Folks, we are leaving our children a legacy alright – a legacy of debt. To find out more about local debt, go to: http://texastransparency.org/yourmoney/pdf/TexasItsYourMoney-LocalDebt.pdf

And remember that the figures in the Comptroller’s report do not include interest payments. When we add interest, that $195 billion grows to $324 billion. And some local governments owe more in interest than they owe in principal due to some sketchy financing schemes. For instance, Leander ISD owes $941 million in principal and $1.7 billion in interest for a total debt load of just under $2.7 billion.

For your local debt (and a listing of principal plus interest), go to the Texas Bond Review Board (http://www.brb.state.tx.us/WOAI – Skyrocketing Local Debt 5-29-13[6] ) and click on Local Government Debt.

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