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Local Spending

Local spending is growing faster than it should, and, as a consequence, it is fostering an environment of higher taxes and bigger debt. After all, persistently high levels of government spending have to be provided for somehow.


  • By law, limit the growth of the Texas local government budgets to no more than 4 percent or population growth plus inflation, whichever is less.

Talking points for liberty fighters

  • Local government spending totaled $66 billion in the year 2000. By 2015, aggregate local spending had grown to $137 billion, an increase of 108%. Over the same period, population and inflation grew only 69%.
  • The accelerated rate of local spending growth helps, in part, to explain the high and fast-growing nature of property taxes in Texas.
  • In FY2017, local debt service outstanding (including principal and interest) was estimated at $338.1 billion, or approximately $12,000 owed per person.
  • Among the top 10 most populous states, Texas’ local debt per capita ranks as the second highest total, behind only New York.

Our stance on specific bills related to this issue

SB 462

  • Improves transparency in the debt issuance process by requiring bond propositions to specify:
    • the purpose for the debt obligation
    • the principal amount of debt to be authorized
    • the taxes that may be imposed to pay the annual interest and principal
    • the aggregate amount of outstanding principal of existing local debt
    • the debt service portion of the property tax rate for the political subdivision at the time the election is ordered

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