Commonwealth Foundation states the following:
Pennsylvanians owe $121 billion in state and local government debt. This equates to more than $9,400 for every person, and almost $38,000 for the average family of four in the commonwealth—an increase of $10,300 since 2002.
The total represents debt in the form of government bonds, but excludes unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities for government workers, borrowing for unemployment compensation, and short-term tax anticipation notes, which add tens of billions more in obligations for Pennsylvania taxpayers.
Since 2002, total outstanding state general obligation debt increased 54%, from $6.8 billion to $10.3 billion.
Annual debt payments on general obligation bonds increased from $349 million in FY 2002-03 to $1.1 billion in the proposed FY 2012-13 budget, an increase of 198% in annual debt payments in nine years.
State Agencies' & Authorities' Debt
More than three-fourths of Pennsylvania's state-level borrowing is done by off-budget state agencies and authorities, like the Turnpike Commission and the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which issue their own debt to the extent authorized by the legislature.
Debt held by state agencies and authorities increased from $16.8 billion in 2002 to nearly$34.7 billion in 2011—an increase of 106%.
Total Pennsylvania state and state agencies' and authorities' debt increased from $23.7 billion to more than $45 billion in the last nine years—representing a total state-level increase of 90%.
Pennsylvania State, State Agencies' & Authorities' Debt
School District Debt
Pennsylvania taxpayers are also experiencing an increase in debt at the school district level.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, school district debt increased from $19.4 billion in 2002 to $26.6 billion in 2010—an increase of 38%.
County, Municipal, Township, & Special District Debt
Other local government debt—debt held by counties, cities, townships, boroughs, and special districts—represents more than 40% of all taxpayer debt in the Commonwealth.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent data (2009), county, municipal, township, and special district debt increased from $45 billion in 2002 to $49 billion in 2009—an increase of 9%.
Pennsylvania School District, County, Municipal, Township, Special District Debt
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