Monday, December 5, 2016

Texas' Local Governments: Pensions bad; DEBT worse....

"The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7

[Update 12/6/2016 -- TPPF has updated figures for local debt this morning: "the total debt owed by all local governmental entities rose to $342.1 billion in FY 2016, an increase from $338.4 billion owed in the previous fiscal year."]

Via the Trib this morning, a report on the very real challenges big cities in Texas will face related to pensions in the coming years; most important takeaway:
Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio collectively face $22.6 billion worth of pension fund shortfalls, according to a new report from credit rating and financial analysis firm Moody’s.
Obviously, that's not good, but consider that number against total local government debt across Texas:
As of fiscal 2015, local debt service outstanding, or the amount required to fully repay the principal and interest owed, totaled $338.4 billion.

[Author's Note: Emphasis added in both quotes.]
We admit it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison to compare every political subdivision in the state to four cities, but it still gives you a picture of the relative importance of the two issues.

Bottom Line: If local governments would simply stop racking up debt, they could afford their pensions.

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