Increased local Iowa government borrowing funds growth


DES MOINES, Iowa -- The amount of debt accumulated by local and state government in fiscal year 2019 is up nearly five percent from the year before.

State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald says the $17 billion in debt is cities, counties, and school districts borrowing money to pay for, in some cases, very rapid growth.

"Not only do you need new schools, but you also need new streets where they're building new houses. And, you'll need new sewer lines to go out to those new houses--all that kind of infrastructure" Fitzgerald says.

He says local governments took advantage for very low interest rates when they borrowed the money.

"It's like the average family that's refinancing their house right now because interest rates are so low. Lower your monthly payment--it's cheap money" he says.

Fitzgerald says cities and school districts accounted for more than $10 billion in fiscal year 2019 borrowing.