Public Debt

​Texas' 254 counties make up only 6% of all local debt.

Texas is growing fast, and local governments are building the infrastructure needed to sustain this robust economic development. Counties, cities and school districts all issue debt to build roads, schools, streets, water and wastewater treatment systems, parks, jails and other public facilities. Local taxpayers — not the state government — voted for these projects in their communities, and voted to issue the bonds and pay them off.

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Key Points

  • Texas counties are efficient and effective political subdivisions.
  • Even with state’s high growth rate, bond-issued county debt is only 6% of the overall local debt in Texas.
  • County debt increases to meet the demands of a growing population.
  • The state’s economy depends heavily on local infrastructure local debt builds.
  • Local debt isn’t always local. Many state highway projects are moving forward only because counties issue debt to pay part of the cost to get these projects underway.

Related Articles

County Debt Per Capita Is Far Lower Than You Think

County Magazine, Oct. 30, 2018In Texas, all public securities issued by local debt issuers — such as counties — must be approved by the Public Finance Division of the Office of the Attorney General and registered with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts...

Critics Charge Local Bond Elections Lack Transparency

Texas Tribune, Aug 28, 2014It was a powerful lineup of Texas Republicans who joined Comptroller Susan Combs early last year at a state Capitol news conference...

FY 2012 Bond Issuance and Authorized but Unissued - All Local Governments

Texas Bond Review Board, FY 2012Local Government Services