- After expense-paid trip to Turkey, Austin district to expand Turkish language and culture program – Laura Heinauer and Melissa Taboada, Austin American-Statesman
- Friend of Rep. Borris Miles runs Costa Rican 'medical tourism' firm; HISD approves $600K contract with doc linked to same firm – Trent Seibert and Jennifer Peebles, Texas Watchdog
- Port of Houston officials blast Houston reporter; Sen. Whitmire blasts Port officials – Wayne Dolcefino, KTRK-13 News
- Perry denounces new ATF rule on multiple gun sales – Todd Gillman, Trail Blazers Blog
- Texas Voters Will Consider 10 Constitutional Changes – Beth Brown, Texas Tribune
- Texas' debt growing at faster rate than federal government's – Mitchell Schnurman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Local borrowing accounts for almost 85 percent of public debt in Texas, because the government is so decentralized. Combine state and local borrowing, and Texas ended fiscal 2008 with $216 billion in total debt, up from $98 billion in 2001, according to census figures….
Texas doesn’t appear to be overextended. In a May report, Standard & Poor’s gave the state an AA+ rating, citing its outperforming economy, strong cash management and constitutional limits on debt.
“Texas has what we consider to be a very low net debt burden,” S&P wrote.
Anti-Perry Progressives and some journos jumped all over the headline to this piece, without really drilling into the details. Not unlike households that borrow to finance important capital investments (think home and car loans), many Texas localities have also borrowed to finance capital projects, with the approval of local voters. That’s a little different than running trillion-dollar deficits to finance federal “stimulus” and other unsustainable wealth-redistribution/entitlement programs, and as S&P notes, the Texas debt appears sustainable.
It’s also worth noting that “off the books” federal debt has actually exploded, something that Schnurman does not account for. See below.
- The Government’s Four-Decade Financial Experiment – Alex J. Pollock, The American
Over the last four decades, the U.S. government has engaged in a financial experiment, or adventure, of exploding agency debt relative to Treasury securities.
The huge debt of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, other government-sponsored enterprises, and other off-budget government agencies (“agency debt”) fully relies on the credit of the United States. This means it by definition exposes the taxpayers to losses, but it is not accounted for as government debt. As the Federal Reserve carefully notes in its “Flow of Funds” report, non-budget agency and GSE debt is not “considered officially to be part of the total debt of the federal government.”
Not “considered officially,” as they say—but what is it really? It puts the federal budget at risk, subjecting it to uncertainty of defaults. It has proven its ability to generate huge losses for the taxpayers. In other words, it is really, if not “officially,” government debt.
- State Debt Per Capita, 2009 – The Tax Foundation
Note that Texas debt-per-capita is among the lowest in the country.
- Perry, Social Conservatives and the Road to the Top – Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune
- Rick Perry mixes Texas-sized helpings of jobs, social values – Kathie Obradovich, Des Moines Register
- Rick Perry's Confederate past? – Justin Elliott, Salon.com
- Perry's noncandidacy working well for him – Jason Embry, Austin American-Statesman
- Do Big-Name Members of Coalition Openly Support Attacks on The Governor of Texas? – Times of Texas
- Fringe group sues to block Perry participation in prayer rally – Chuck Lindell, Postcards