As state treasurer, one of my obligations is to report the outstanding debt obligations for state and local governments in Iowa. As of June 30, 2018, Iowa’s outstanding debt obligations totaled $16.3 billion. Overall, this represents an increase of 2.9% from last year, which is similar to the previous year’s increase. All political subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies of the state are required to disclose outstanding long-term obligations, including bonds, notes, capital leases and loans, to the state treasurer annually. Iowa continues the trend of moderate increases in outstanding debt obligations. Public units borrow money in order to pay for capital projects, such as public buildings, schools, and utility improvements. The 2.9% increase is likely due to financing normal infrastructure needs.
The debt of Iowa cities continues to account for the largest share of outstanding debt at 37% of the total outstanding debt. For the first time, debt held by cities surpassed the $6 billion mark, increasing by $197 million from 2017 to 2018.
School-issued debt held steady in fiscal 2018 at 23.5% of the total outstanding debt. Debt held by schools was $3.8 billion, an increase of $97 million from 2017.
My office makes this information available to all Iowans by county so they can see the total debt and changes over the years in their own communities. Click here to view the report and additional information by a specific reporting entity.