National Debt Is Important, but Local Debt Is, Too
This commentary originally appeared in the Tyler Morning Telegraph on February 11, 2014.
Cities, counties, school districts, and special districts in Texas are drowning in debt.
According to newly-released data from the Texas Bond Review Board (BRB), Texas’ local governments had outstanding debts totaling more than $200 billion in fiscal year 2013. That marks an increase of more than $25 billion over the past five years.
On a per person basis, the amount of local debt that exists is equally concerning. In 2013, Texas’ local debt per capita — ranked as the 2nd highest among the top 10 most populous states in a September 2012 Texas Comptroller report — totaled more than $7,500 per Texan. That figure has also seen significant growth in recent years, when only ten years ago local debt per capita was just over $4,300 per person.