The 84th Legislature passed HB 1378 to increase the transparency of local government debt. Under Local Government Code § 140.008, political subdivisions, including counties, cities, school districts, junior college districts, special purpose districts, and other subdivisions of state government must annually compile their debt obligation data from the preceding fiscal year and either:
For those who chose the first option above, the Comptroller's office has developed the Annual Local Debt Report (XLS) form and an online submission form to enable entities or their third-party representatives to compile and submit the required information:
In accordance with 140.008(d), the Comptroller's office provides the submitted information in an appropriate format. The Local Entity Debt Lookup makes self-reported debt information for each political subdivision available by searching a political subdivision's name, entity type, city, and/or zip code.
Political subdivisions shall report the required information via Option 1 or 2 above:
Note: This table reflects both deadlines: the 210 days from the last day of an entity's 2016 fiscal year and 180 days from the last day of an entity's subsequent fiscal years.
|Last Day of Fiscal Year||Submission/Posting Deadline for Fiscal 2016||Submission/Posting Deadline for Fiscal 2017 and Beyond|
|January 31||August 28, 2016||July 30|
|February 28||September 25, 2016||August 27|
|March 31||October 27, 2016||September 27|
|April 30||November 26, 2016||October 27|
|May 31||December 27, 2016||November 27|
|June 30||January 26, 2017||December 27|
|July 31||February 26, 2017||January 27|
|August 31||March 29, 2017||February 27|
|September 30||April 28, 2017||March 29|
|October 31||May 29, 2017||April 29|
|November 30||June 28, 2017||May 29|
|December 31||July 29, 2017||June 29|
The Comptroller's office is charged with adopting rules for the implementation of Local Government Code 140.008. These rules are in development and will establish the format, submission and web posting and/or web linking of reporting of political subdivisions' required annual debt information, including that of water districts described in Chapter 49 of the Water Code. This website serves as the Comptroller's standing guidance while rules to implement Local Government Code 140.008 are in development. In meantime, the HB 1378 draft rules can be viewed here. These draft rules are not finalized. Please contact us with any comments or questions regarding these draft rules.
Specifically, the rules will:
The Comptroller's Annual Local Debt Report forms can be obtained from the Comptroller's Local Government Debt Transparency site or by emailing us. The Comptroller may update or otherwise change the form as needed.
Annually and within 210 days of the end of each political subdivisions' fiscal year in 2016, and thereafter within 180 days of the end of the most recently completed fiscal year, all political subdivisions, including cities and counties with populations below 15,000 and 35,000, respectively, shall either:
Water districts described in Chapter 49 of the Water Code may submit via web upload one of the following to the Comptroller's Office within 210 days of the end of the fiscal year completed in 2016 and thereafter, annually and within 180 days of the end of the most recently completed fiscal year: an annual financial report, an audit or an affidavit of financial dormancy.
The Comptroller must receive the Annual Local Debt Report from political subdivisions, including cities and counties with populations below 15,000 and 35,000, respectively, post them on the Comptroller's website, and must ensure that each political subdivision's report is easily located via a search function. The Comptroller receives and posts on its website one of the following for each water district as defined by Chapter 49 of the Water Code: an annual report, an affidavit of financial dormancy, or an audit.
Yes. A political subdivision must annually compile and report the required financial information under Local Government Code, Section 140.008. There is not an exception to the filing requirement for a political subdivision with no outstanding debt.
A political subdivision must annually compile and report the required financial information, including debt obligations defined as an issued public security under Government Code, Section 1201.002.
A public security "means an instrument, including a bond, certificate, note, or other type of obligation authorized to be issued by an issuer under a statute, a municipal home-rule charter, or the constitution of this state" under Government Code, Section 1201.002(2)
Since the definition of an issued public security is not limited by the source of debt payment, a political subdivision would be required to report its debt obligation information regardless of the source of payment.
Yes. Since a county appraisal district is defined as a Texas political subdivision under Section 6.01(c) of the Texas Tax Code, it is required to report under Local Government Code, Section 140.008.
Charter schools required under §140.008 to compile and report outstanding debt obligations will likely include those organized under:
The Comptroller encourages all charter schools to participate in the Local Government Debt database.
Only public securities defined under Government Code §1201.002 (an instrument, including a bond, certificate, note, or other type of obligation authorized to be issued by an issuer under a statute, a municipal home-rule charter, or the constitution of this state) must be reported. If short term leases and loans or other agreements do not meet this definition, they are not required to be reported.
However the intent of HB1378 is debt transparency. Even if they do not meet the definition of public securities above, political subdivisions are encouraged to report bank obligations or direct placements if they have a term over 3 years; were authorized by the voters; or are to be repaid with ad valorem taxation.
No, political subdivisions subject to the reporting requirements of Texas Local Government Code §140.008 (with the exception of water districts subject to §140.008(g)) must compile an Annual Local Debt Report and either make the report available for public inspection and post it continuously on the political subdivision's Internet website in accordance with the requirements of §140.008(f), or provide the pertinent debt information to the Comptroller in the format required by the Comptroller in accordance with the requirements of §140.008 (d) or (e).
However, Texas Local Government Code §140.008(c) does allow an entity that elects to post the Annual Local Debt Report on its own website (in lieu of providing the report to the Comptroller for posting on the Comptroller's website) and that maintains certain financial information described under subsection (b) elsewhere on its website to "provide in the report a direct link to, or a clear statement describing the location of, the separately posted information." The statute explains that an entity is afforded this option in order to avoid "replicating in the annual report" information that is presented in a separate, but clearly identifiable, other location. The Comptroller nonetheless urges political subdivisions and local governments to ensure that all required debt information maintained on the local entity's website can be easily located and accessed by the public, and to use best efforts to promote local debt transparency in accordance with Texas law.
The Texas Health and Safety Code states that a "community center" may be established and operated by a county, municipality, hospital district, school district, or an organizational combination of two or more of those local agencies. (§534.001)
The Texas Health and Safety Code also provides that a community center is considered:
Also, community centers are established and operated by local agencies under a plan approved by DADS and DSHS (25 TAC §411.301(b)).
Lastly, the Texas Council of Community Centers website states that "Texas Community Centers are units of local government. Locally sponsored by counties, cities, hospital districts and school districts, each Center is governed by a publicly appointed Board of Trustees comprised of local leaders that represent the diversity and best interests of communities, families, and consumers." (Source: http://txcouncil.com/about-community-centers/)
Considering all of this, the Comptroller's Office would state that Community Centers should comply with the debt reporting requirements set forth in Texas Local Government Code §140.008 as that section applies to political subdivisions to include any "subdivision of state government."
Entities should do their own research, however, and/or consult an attorney if they have doubts about the application of §140.008.
Yes, a water district satisfies the debt reporting requirements of Texas Local Government Code §140.008 if it:
No. Texas Local Government Code §140.008(d) states a political subdivision may provide to the Comptroller the information described by subsection (b) and any other related information required by the Comptroller in the form and in the manner prescribed by the Comptroller. The Annual Local Debt Report is the Comptroller-approved form and properly incorporates all required information.
If, alternatively, a political subdivision elects to post the required information on its own website rather than submit it to the Comptroller, the political subdivision must do so in the manner prescribed by Local Government Code §140.008 (b), (c), and (f), but otherwise is not required to replicate the Comptroller's preformatted Local Annual Debt Report.
In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 855, which requires state agencies to publish a list of the three most commonly used Web browsers on their websites. The Texas Comptroller’s most commonly used Web browsers are Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.