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— a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation —

State Debt

Rising state debt and lack of debt transparency will continue chipping away at the public’s well-being without key reforms. These issues could jeopardize Texas’ AAA credit rating by the three major credit rating agencies since 2013 and place increasing burdens on taxpayers. Providing key reforms to state debt will begin to lessen these burdens and move Texas toward sound fiscal management.


  • Provide ballot box transparency by requiring inclusions of total debt service outstanding needed to fully pay the proposed debt on time and an estimate of the proposed debt’s influence on the average Texan.
  • Scrutinize all budget areas by implementing zero-based budgeting to spend taxpayer money from general revenue funds instead of issuing debt.
  • Use surplus taxpayer dollars for tax relief instead of paying down state debt.

Talking points for liberty fighters

  • From FY2008 to 2017, total state debt outstanding increased by 69% to $53 billion. Total debt outstanding per capita in Texas increased over the last decade by 66% to $1,731 per person.
  • The Texas Bond Review Board notes that total debt service outstanding, which includes principal and interest owed, is $87.2 billion, or roughly $3,160 per Texan.

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