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Texas Local Gov't Debt Piling Up

Updated: Friday, August 29 2014, 08:22 PM CDT

Texas is the land of opportunity, you rarely hear someone dispute that.

The job market bustling, the economy growing, but according to some policy experts, local government debt is piling up. That could have an effect on you and your family for years to come.

Policy experts at the Texas Public Policy Foundation ask if you know how much you owe.

According to a recent report, their research suggests that total local government debt has grown by almost $30 billion in the past five years.

"As big and as scary as that number is, it's going to get even bigger if trends continue in the direction they have in the past," said James Quintero with the TPPF.

Quintero says the current local government debt situation is on an unsustainable trajectory.

"We have a local government debt epidemic here in the state of Texas," said Quintero.

According to information complied through public information requests and numbers from the Texas Bond Review Board, TPPF experts believe each Texan owes about $12,400 per person on behalf of their local governments.

The experts say many Texas areas are relying more on borrowing to keep up with expansion and the basic services, like new schools, but the people who live there may not fully understand the cost.

"Why don't we know this and how are they going to pay that back?" said one Central Texas resident KEYE TV spoke with.

The debt could lead to a possibility of higher tax bills and lack of services because the city is paying down debt.

"The link (is) between high debt, high taxes, and fewer services," said Quintero.

While the TPPF study focused on per-person costs across the state, experts say total debt differs from city to city and from county to county. TPPF policy experts plan to make several recommendations to Texas lawmakers during the next legislative session.

For more information on how you can check your areas local government debt:

By Adam Racusin

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Texas Local Gov't Debt Piling Up

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