Congratulations, Texas cities and schools — thanks to you, the Lone Star State is second only to New York! Second in local debt per person, that is.

Even worse, nearly 40% of that $330 billion in debt liability is interest expense. Not exactly the kind of ranking that bodes well for the future of the Lone Star State. But it is the future we’re creating by allowing city councils and school districts to rack up major debt.

Sure, sure… “Local control!” the debt-makers yell, when anyone suggests providing more transparency to taxpayers. City councils don’t want taxpayers knowing about the true cost imposed upon them. Indeed, city councils and school districts are the chief opponents of shining ANY sunlight on local debt.

Most city councils and school boards in Texas are “elected” only in the most technical of senses. They take office in May’s elections that often generate only five percent in voter turnout, many of which are government employees of the entities themselves. The biggest reason for that is these “elections” are in strange times of the year — not on the regular primary-general calendar most people follow. Worse, those “elected” officials then hold “elections” for debt at even more obscure times designed to guarantee that even less traditional demographics turn-out.

Taxpayers must be protected from abusive local governments, especially those intent on drowning them in an indiscriminate sea of debt.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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