State Treasurer of Iowa

Economic Outlook: Outstanding Debt Obligations Increase a Modest 1.06%

Outstanding debt obligations for state and local governments in Iowa totaled $15.2 billion as of June 30, 2015. Overall, this represents an increase of 1.06% over last year, the state’s lowest annual increase over the last eighteen years. 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 continues to rise, it is increasing at a slower rate than previous years,” Fitzgerald explained. “Those entities that did increase their debt significantly, namely schools and counties, are taking advantage of very low interest rates by building and renovating infrastructure.”

Education-related debt comprises about 40% of the total debt (public schools 24%, Board of Regents 12% and community colleges 4%). Debt issued by schools increased 3.8% and the Board of Regents 3.1%, while community colleges decreased their debt by 6.3% in the last year. A majority of the $3.59 billion in debt incurred by schools resulted from revenue bonds for construction or renovation projects.

Iowa counties report over $911 million in debt, a 6.03% increase over last year, while cities experienced a 1.9% increase with $5.4 billion in current debt.
The State of Iowa decreased its total debt to $889.7 million, a 3.7% difference from 2014, while state authorities experienced a 5.23% decrease, with $1.9 billion in debt.

“Iowa continues to see only moderate increases in outstanding debt obligations. 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 website to view the report and additional information by a specific reporting entity. 


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