Statement by Peggy Venable
Policy and Legislative Director, AFP-Texas
& Senior Fellow, Americans for Prosperity
Texas is the top state in the country on economic performance but the state’s economic outlook is dimmed by one blaring problem in Texas.
This week, an updated Rich States, Poor States report, officially named the ALEC-Laffer Economic Competitiveness Index, came out. Written by famed economist Art Laffer, former Wall Street Journal economist Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams from the American Legislative Exchange Council, the index provided some insight into Texas’ future prosperity.
While the Lone Star State was at the top of the rankings for economic performance, Texas ranked 13th in economic outlook. Only in 2009 did Texas even make the top 10 list of states in ranking economic outlook – and then the State was only number ten.
Texas ranked near the bottom – number 48th – in debt service as a share of tax burden. Texas local governments are deep in debt — $321 billion in principal plus interest.
Texas taxpayers owe 12.1 percent of their tax bill just to service the debt. Most of that debt comes from local governments.
We at Americans for Prosperity-Texas will work to increase transparency and encourage taxpayers to become educated on local debt issues and how to reduce debt.
We are leaving our children a legacy, but it is not a legacy we want to leave – it is a legacy of debt.
NOTE: According to the Texas Comptroller report Your Money and Local Debt, local government debt has more than doubled from 2001 to 2011. The largest growth sector is in total public school district debt; the biggest percentage increase in debt is in special purpose districts.