Death by a Thousand Budget Cuts
Yesterday, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released a report about state and local debt. It's a good read for anyone who wants to learn how great of a burden Rick Perry and the Republican-controlled Legislature have put on local governments to pay for necessary services. From the San Antonio Express-News, "Texas cities, counties piling up debt":
State and local debt in Texas includes $40.5 billion of outstanding state debt and $192.7 billion of outstanding local debt, including $63.6 billion held by the state's 1,024 school districts. Sixty-one percent of local debt is tax-supported, while 39 percent, or about $75.8 billion, is revenue-backed debt.
Kevin Wolff, the only Republican on the Bexar County Commissioners Court, pointed out that, legally, county governments are a subset of state government and that cities and counties across the state had been forced to deal with legislative budget cuts and unfunded mandates. “A lot of the debt that counties have had to incur is really through the process of unfunded mandates that come through Austin,” Wolff added. “They're notorious for passing responsibility onto us for (programs) but not giving us funding sources to do it.”
It is death by a thousand budget cuts, and it's why we are working to hold elected officials accountable and demand they raise more revenue to pay for the critical needs of Texas' future.