by Lou Ann Anderson
The everything’s bigger in Texas claim certainly applies to our local government debt. While indeed the state enjoys many economic advantages stemming from sound policies promoting economic freedom, limited government and low taxes, Texas local debt stands at an abysmal $322 billion and if assorted school districts, cities and a few other government entities get their way – the May 10 election will bring up to $6.5 billion (more than $9 billion with interest) in new debt.
For context, understand Texas is second only to California in total debt and second only to New York in per capita debt. Local debt is growing faster than the increase in population and inflation.
Many of these bond packages are sold as being “for the children” or as “investments in the future.” And our children are certainly invested in these actions, both now and in the future as the ones who will be left paying for all this spending — for years, decades even to come. When all is said and done, the most lasting legacy with which future generations will be left is one of opportunity-killing debt.
The May ballot will bring about 65 jurisdictions asking voters to consider nearly $6.5 billion in additional debt. Two things rarely mentioned in these elections: existing debt and the interest (roughly 40 percent of the principal) that will be added on to the principal amount promoted in local elections. So with this election cycle, $6.5 billion debt more realistically equates to $9.1 billion. Continue reading here.