SB 14: Informed Voters are Smart Voters
If you’re anything like me, you’re beyond proud to be a Texan. We’re known for our friendly natures, our grab-life-by-the-horns attitude, and for having the best BBQ in the entire world, among other things. We’re used to never-ending construction and we know full well that Texas is growing every single day. We enjoy low taxes and the fact that union thugs can’t push us around in this right to work state.
As much as we love Texas and our Texas-sized egos, our great state is in trouble, more trouble than most of us might have guessed. For 2013, the 50 states were ranked based on a combination of personal and economic freedom. Texas ranked 14th. While 14th might sound reasonable to a non-Texan, to a true Texan, it’s completely unacceptable. In 2009 we were ranked 8th, which means our state has been moving in the wrong direction for a while now.
Texas’ Achilles heel is the extremely high amount of state and local debt, with most of the problem arising at the local level. Texans are over $324 billion in local government debt. How did this happen one may ask? Sadly enough, most of this debt is voter-approved and it’s growing at an alarming rate.
I sincerely doubt that voters would vote for bonds or other government project if they knew how much debt their local governments were already carrying- and how much interest that this debt had accrued.
SB 14 will require local governments to provide voters with more information on current debt when they vote on the addition of new debt. It also will limit the ability of governments to issue debt without voter approval. This legislation also ensures that special-purpose taxing entities are serving the purposes for which they were created.
This legislation is important as voters are often not aware of how new proposed debt fits into the total debt carried by their local government.
For information on your local governments’ debt (city, county, school district, hospital district, community college district and more) – go to www.brb.state.tx.us
And we encourage you to let your legislators know that you support getting more information from your local government when they ask for another bond initiative!
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