The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Local Governance Director James Quintero issued the following statement on the Texas Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relation’s Interim Report to the 85th Legislature, which recommends several reforms to improve transparency and accountability in the local debt issuance process. The report’s recommendations include providing Texas voters with “basic essential information that will inform voters of the potential impact of the issuance of new fiscal obligations.”
“Texas’ local governments are awash in a sea of red ink,” said Quintero. “The latest data suggests that local debt totals more than $338 billion, or roughly $12,300 owed for every man, woman, and child in the state. That’s a stunning level of debt. While there are no silver bullets to solve Texas’ massive local debt problem, there are steps that can be taken to step back from the brink, like those put forward in the Texas Senate’s new interim report on local governments. One of the most important is to better inform Texas voters on the impact of their decisions at the ballot box. Every time a Texan steps in the voting booth, he or she should know, at least, the total cost of the proposed bond (principal and interest) and how its passage would affect their taxes. Making sure that every Texan has that information at their fingertips would go a long way toward improving the current system.”
To learn more about the size and growth of local government debt in Texas, please visit: Red Ink Rising in the Lone Star State.