Plano ranks third in national fiscal health report

Plano ranked third out of 75 of the U.S.' largest cities for its tax surplus, granting the city a "B" grade.

In a Truth in Accounting 2024 Financial State of the Cities report published earlier this week, Plano ranked third out of 75 cities for fiscal health.

The report examined 75 of the largest U.S. cities, ranking them by their taxpayer burden or surplus. Overall, 53 cities out of 75 were found to “not have enough money to pay their bills” totaling $288 billion in debt, according to the report.

Individual cities were graded “A” is their surplus was greater than $10,000 per taxpayer, “B” if the surplus was between $5,000 and $9,999 per taxpayer, “C if the burden was between $0 and $4,999, “D” if the burden was between $5,000 and $20,000 per taxpayer and “F” if the burden was greater than $20,000 per taxpayer.

In the top 5 “sunshine” cities, or cities with the highest surplus, Washington, D.C., ranked first with a $10,700 surplus, followed by Irvine with a $6,100 surplus and Plano in third, with a $5,100 surplus.

“Plano returned to the top five cities because of federal COVID funds and increased tax revenue. This ranking may be artificially high because of the lack of timely pension data,” the report explains. “The city’s fiscal year was September 30, 2022, but the city’s share of the pension liability for the Texas Municipal Retirement System was measured on December 31, 2021. At the time, the city’s share of the system showed an overfunding of $6.7 million. As of December 31, 2022, the city’s share was underfunded by $182 million due to unrealized investment gains switching to losses.”

Despite this determination, Plano has been ranked “B” in a surplus since at least 2016, with this year’s information derived from Plano’s 2022 audited Annual Comprehensive Financial Report and retirement plan reports. Truth in Accounting’s report also noted the number of days that the city took to publish its annual report after the end of the fiscal year. Plano took 97 days after the fiscal year ended, the second quickest out of cities that reported this data.

The bottom five cities, called “sinkhole” cities, were Portland, Philadelphia, Honolulu, Chicago and New York City.

Plano’s fiscal health beat several other Texas cities, including Arlington (ranked 16), Austin (ranked 51), Corpus Christi (ranked 10), Dallas (ranked 63), El Paso (ranked 60), Fort Worth (ranked 56), Houston (ranked 61) and San Antonio (ranked 15).

Truth in Accounting is a nonprofit that aims to provide government financial information regarding government and budget processes.

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