Your Money and Local Debt
Published September 2012
State and local governments levy taxes and fees to finance day-to-day operations and service existing debt. They primarily borrow for investments in infrastructure, tuition bonds for higher education and other voter-approved debt. Texas taxpayers need to be informed about the debt governments are taking on, what the debt is buying and how long it will take to repay.
Often, taxpayers have no idea how much public debt governments have issued. This report examines Texas’ current levels of state and local government debt, highlights trends, shows where to find out how much debt governments have accumulated and whether taxes or other revenue will be used to repay it.
Call to Action
Find out just how much debt governments have issued in your name, and how much of your taxes or other revenue will be used to repay it. You need accurate information to decide how well governments are meeting their responsibilities, because government debt places obligations not just on us, but also on future generations.
Then register to vote! The first step in making your voice heard is visiting the Texas Secretary of State’s website.
Filling in the Gaps
Since Your Money and Local Debt was published, we’ve compiled huge quantities of information that taxpayers should have at their fingertips. We hope you find these resources helpful.
- Debt at a Glance Profiles: Our office has compiled debt statistics on all Texas cities, counties, school districts and community college districts, as well as for Texas. You’ll find a wealth of data in each user-friendly, one-stop summary.
- Debt Glossary: Debt is more complicated than you might think. Our glossary explains the difference between debt issued and debt outstanding, tax-supported and revenue-supported debt, and much more.
Tools and Resources
- Texas Cities’ Debt Outstanding Map: Get details on your city’s debt outstanding, including tax-supported and revenue-supported debt, and the amount of debt per capita.
- Texas Counties’ Debt Outstanding Map: Get details on your county’s debt outstanding, including tax-supported and revenue-supported debt, and the amount of county debt per capita.
- Outstanding Debt for Water Districts Map: Select your county to learn details on your water district’s debt outstanding, including tax-supported and revenue-supported debt.
- Local Water District Debt Per County Table: Find debt information for water districts in an easily sortable table.
- Outstanding Debt for Special Purpose Districts Map: Select individual special purpose districts for details on debt outstanding, including a breakdown of tax-supported, lease-supported and revenue-supported debt.
Resources From Other Agencies
- Texas Bond Review Board: Find reports and resources to help you better understand local government debt, terminology, policies and legislative changes related to local government debt. Their State Debt Finance page lists state debt issuers, guidelines for state issuers, recently approved state transactions and a searchable database of all state debt.