"The city of Houston now has more debt per capita than California."
Does Houston have more debt per resident than the Golden State?
Believe it. Perry's campaign pointed to fiscal 2009 financial reports for Houston and California. Houston's outstanding debt that year was $5,720 per person. California's debt per person was $2,808 — less than half of Houston's.
Perry accurately says Houston's debt per capita is more than California's debt per capita, a charge that seemingly packs a punch.
But there's a subset of state debt that hasn't surged, Perry's campaign pointed out — currently $3.07 billion to support parks and for construction of state facilities, among other activities. That debt has decreased by about 6 percent since 2001.Amazing... so 90.9% of Texas debt is funded by program revenue... student loans and the like that will be paid back and not be passed down to future generations of taxpayers. Of that 9.1% that the state actually has to pay, it has decreased by 6% under Rick's administration.
Then there's debt to be repaid with program revenue. For example, interest on student loans is used to repay the bond that funded it without the state having to commit general revenue. That "self-supporting" debt has increased by 173 percent since 2001.
Regardless, Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, noted that lots of things have probably doubled since Perry became governor. After all, he's held the office for nearly a decade.
Eva DeLuna Castro, a senior budget analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities, also said it'd be a stretch to say Perry was solely responsible for all those debt decisions.
"Voters do that, and the Legislature," she said. "So we're all responsible."