State Treasurer of Iowa

Outstanding Debt Obligations Increase a Modest 1.7%

February 9, 2015

Des Moines, IA—State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald reports that outstanding debt obligations for state and local governments in Iowa totaled just over $15 billion as of June 30, 2014. Overall, this represents an increase of 1.7% over last year. All political subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies of the state are required to disclose outstanding long-term obligations, including bonds, notes, capital leases and loans, annually to the state treasurer. “While debt nearly doubled in the last decade, this is the lowest annual percentage increase reported since the turn of the century,” Fitzgerald explained. “We see the greatest increases in debt issued by education-related entities such as schools, the Board of Regents and community colleges.”

Education-related debt comprises over 38% of the total debt (public schools 23%, Board of Regents 11% and community colleges 4%).  Debt issued by schools increased 8.49%, Board of Regents 7.11% and community colleges 6.86% over last year. A majority of the $5.8 billion debt incurred by school districts and AEAs is for construction or renovation projects. “In some areas, we see new schools being built, while in other areas we see old infrastructure being improved,” Fitzgerald stated. “The fact that communities come together to better their schools is a reflection of the importance of education in Iowa.”

Cities report 35% of all outstanding debt, with five cities (Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Sioux City and Davenport) holding over 30% of the $5.3 billion reported.

Iowa counties report $859 million in debt with Polk County reporting nearly 30% of the total. Other entities with outstanding debt issues include state authorities with $2.1 billion and state agencies with $924 million. Counties, state authorities and agencies all decreased their debt in the last year.

“While the overall debt increase in Iowa is moderate, we make this information available to all Iowans by county so they can see the total debt and changes over the years in their own communities,” Fitzgerald stated. Visit the state treasurer’s office at and click ‘Outstanding Obligation Report’ under the ‘For Governments’ tab to view the report and additional information by a specific reporting entity.

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