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Shining a light on Texas’ pile of debt — and shadowy bond votes


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“Alarming levels” of local government debt are nudging Texas lawmakers to bring more transparency and accountability to bond elections.


Local debt outstanding topped $225 billion in fiscal 2015, according to the Texas Bond Review Board. That works out to $8,350 for every man, woman and child – the second highest behind New York among large states.


From 2000 to 2015, Texas city and county debt spiked by 162 percent, 2½ times faster than the rate of population and inflation.


“For many communities, soaring local government debt has meant an increase in taxation and a decrease in core services,” said James Quintero, director of the Center for Local Governance at the nonpartisan Texas Public Policy Foundation.


Much of the debt — which Quintero called “alarming” — has been piled on by taxpayers who vote for bond issue after bond issue.Scissors-32x32.png

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