To make it simpler for Texans to look at the finances of local governments in their area- and the magnitude of their outstanding debt- Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today announced the rollout of new “Debt-at-a- Glance” Web pages, which detail state and local debt in an easy-to-read, shareable format.
Debt-at-a-Glance outlines the outstanding debt of Texas, as well as the state’s 20 most populous cities and counties. It can be found on the Comptroller’s recently launched Tell the Truth Texas Web resource which is collecting useful and hard-to-find information on the finances of local governments throughout Texas.
In the detailed city and county sections of Debt-at-a-Glance at www.tellthetruthtexas.org/debt/, Web users can pick from any of the largest 20 cities or counties and see debt totals and trends, in addition to details on tax rates, debt elections, authorized but unissued debt, certificates of obligation and links to the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for each city or county.
“Taxpayers pay the freight when government asks them to take on debt,” Combs said. “These Web pages are part of our continuing efforts to help provide simple ways for taxpayers to find out what they’re already on the hook for. The Internet is the new town square, and we want to give busy Texans easy and quick access to information to help them get involved in government.”
Debt-at-a-Glance also enables users to determine how each of the 20 cities and counties compares in total debt outstanding and debt outstanding per capita. The data is updated through the end of fiscal 2012 and comes from the Bond Review Board, which compiles debt information reported by state agencies and local governments.
Debt-at-a-Glance data for the 20 school districts with the largest student populations will be added next, as will additional cities and counties and special purpose districts.
After efforts to introduce more transparency into local spending and debt never made it to a full vote in the recent legislative session, Combs announced the creation of the Tell The Truth Texas website, www.tellthetruthtexas.org, which is a one-stop source to collect all available information on local government finances in Texas to give taxpayers the information they need to make informed decisions.