Texas Local Government Debt

Overview

Local governments in Texas issue debt to finance construction and renovation of government facilities (e.g., schools, public safety buildings, city halls, and county courthouses), public infrastructure (e.g., roads, water, and sewer systems) and various other projects authorized by law. Key factors that affect a government’s need and ability to borrow funds for infrastructure development include population changes, revenue sources, tax rates and levies, interest rates, and construction costs. Local governments issue two main types of debt: tax (general obligation or GO) and revenue. GO debt is secured by the full faith and credit of the issuer’s ad valorem taxing power while revenue debt is secured by a specified revenue source. Tax-supported debt includes debt secured by a combination of ad valorem taxes and other revenue sources, even though the debt may be paid in whole or in part from non-tax revenue. Tax-supported debt generally must be voter approved (with the exception of Certificates of Obligation, tax notes, school district maintenance tax notes, certain time warrants, and certain other obligations).

The BRB separates the local government issuances into seven categories: Cities, Towns, Villages (Cities); Public School Districts (School Districts); Water Districts and Authorities (WD); Counties; Other Special Districts and Authorities (OSD); Community and Junior Colleges (CCD); and Health/Hospital Districts and Authorities (HHD).

Debt of School Districts and Cities account for approximately two-thirds of total local government debt outstanding.

Cities

Counties

Water Districts

Independent School
Districts

Community & Junior College Districts

Health & Hospital Districts

Other
Special Districts

Debt
Outstanding
- Fiscal Year 2020 -
Tax Supported:
$164,350,358,735
Revenue Supported:
$85,688,735,998
Total Outstanding:
$250,039,094,733
Debt
Issued
- Fiscal Year 2020 -
Tax Supported:
$27,715,126,189
Revenue Supported:
$13,152,554,084
Total Issued:
$40,867,680,273

Unless otherwise stated, the data for each chart is as of the fiscal year stated above.

TIP: Click on the legend elements to focus the chart's display.

The most recent U.S. Census Bureau data for local debt outstanding shows Texas was the nation's second most populous state and ranked third among the ten most populous states in terms of local debt per capita. This calculation does not include Texas state debt outstanding. For more information about Texas’ state and local debt outstanding compared with other US states, see Chapter 1 of the Bond Review Board Annual Report.
Third Party Data Sources: United States Census Bureau, Population and Debt Outstanding

The pie chart above shows the total debt outstanding of Texas Local Governments and shows the portion that is classified as tax-supported debt compared to the portion that is classified as revenue debt.

The chart above shows the purposes for which debt was issued for both tax-supported debt and revenue debt outstanding.

Click here to see a brief description of each purpose type.

The chart above represents unique bond counsel firms used by Texas local governments over the past fiscal year. The size of each bar is determined by summing the total fees paid to each firm. Bond counsel firms that are designated as historically underutilized businesses (HUBs) are coded as such in the chart legend.

For more information about local government bond issue costs, see Appendix D of the Bond Review Board Local Government Annual Report.

The chart above represents unique financial advisor firms used by Texas local governments over the past fiscal year. The size of each bar is determined by summing the total fees paid to each firm. Financial advisor firms that are designated as historically underutilized businesses (HUBs) are coded as such in the chart legend.

The chart above represents the top 20 unique underwriter firms used by Texas local governments during the past fiscal year. The size of each bar is determined by summing the number of issuances the firm has served as an underwriter for Texas local governments. Underwriter firms that are designated as historically underutilized businesses (HUBs) are coded as such in the chart legend.

The chart above represents the rating agency fees paid by Texas local governments over the past fiscal year. The size of each slice is determined by the sum of the fees paid to each rating agency by local governments.