About This Site

DebtWatch was created to promote transparency in government and make it easier for taxpayers to track over $1.5 trillion in bonds, notes and other public debt issued by more than 6,000 State and local governmental entities over the past 30 plus years. More than 60,000 different financings involving public debt were used to build important public infrastructure and provide valued public services. About one-third of the total debt was issued to refinance outstanding debt, a strategy used by public agencies to lower interest costs, improve debt repayment terms and save taxpayer money.

This site contains data and documentation on the debt that State and local government agencies issued and reported to the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission (CDIAC), which is chaired by the Treasurer. When government entities sell bonds, notes or other forms of debt, they are known as issuers, and the debt is referred to as the issuance.

Data and documents presented on this site are not a substitute for any initial or continuing disclosure legally required in any public securities offering. State and local governments with outstanding debt securities are required to report certain financial information and operating data, as well as information regarding certain material developments with respect to the agency and the securities, and file such information and operating data with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA).

Data and documents presented on this site result from state and local government issuers’ compliance with California Government Code sections 8855(i), 8855(j), and 8855(k) only and cannot be used to validate or supplement, in whole or in part, information submitted by any issuer of debt acting in accordance with any other state or federal disclosure or reporting requirement.

Data and documents presented on this site are informational, should not be relied upon for investment decisions, and do not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any of the debt instruments displayed. For investment advice on bonds or other securities displayed on this site, please contact your investment advisor. No statement or information found on this site may be incorporated by reference in any offering document prepared for the purpose of offering any securities. By choosing to view the information on this site, you are acknowledging that you have read, understood and accepted the terms of using this site.

This site is a work in progress and will be improved over time. If you find errors or have suggestions, please send us feedback. Data is updated monthly, so check the site often.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions:

What is open data?

Open data allows information to be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone. Users are encouraged to review, compare, visualize, and analyze data -- and share their discoveries -- in real time.

Open data has the potential to support a range of outcomes from promoting community involvement and improving California's business climate to increasing government efficiency and identifying potentially wasteful spending.

Back to Top

What data is available?

This site includes debt-related data submitted by the State, cities, counties, special districts, public education entities and other local governments since 1985. Records may be accessed for a designated time range or by specific criteria (for example, principal amounts, debt type or county).

For each proposed issuance, the database contains only preliminary data until the debt is issued and the issuing agency submits final issuance information to CDIAC. Information for issues that predate the requirement to submit the Annual Debt Transparency Report (see glossary: ADTR) does not include post-issuance data like outstanding balances, but only data collected at the time the debt was proposed and issued. Issuances that are subject to the requirements of the ADTR and for which the ADTR has been submitted will display post issuance information about the debt authority, outstanding balance, and use of the debt proceeds. The Mello-Roos Yearly Fiscal Status (YFS) Dataset, a separate collection of data available on the site's homepage under Other Interesting Debt Data, also contains post-issuance information on this specific type of debt and the sources of repayment.

Issuers are also required to submit issuance documents to CDIAC with the final issuance information. CDIAC receives a variety of documents depending on the type of debt issued including official statements, bond specimens, indentures, resolutions of the governing body, promissory notes, leases, loan agreements, installment sales agreements, and other issuance-related disclosure documents. The site provides a link to the documents submitted for issuances since 2007. Documents for issues prior to 2007 are being digitized and added to the site continuously.

The data displayed on this site is collected through statutorily required reports submitted by issuers or their agents to CDIAC. CDIAC analysts undertake a "best efforts" data verification process by cross-referencing the public and private issuance documents submitted to CDIAC and through direct follow-up with issuers, but errors and omissions cannot be fully avoided. Also, due to timing of the receipt of the reports, incomplete reporting, or modification of reporting requirements over time, some data may not be available.

Data is available from this site's homepage for the following categories:

  • State of California
  • Counties
  • Cities
  • K-14 Schools
  • UC & CSU
  • Joint Powers Authorities & Marks-Roos
  • Mello-Roos
  • Special Districts

For each category, you may dive into the data in three ways: through a Story Page that features notable findings and trends in interactive graphical form; via a Compare Issuers page that allows you to compare "like" governments that issue debt; and Explore All Data, a tabular view that allows you to filter, sort, and export any of the over 60,000 records. The Story Page and the Compare Issuers page also provide an exportable tabular view of the raw data behind any of the graphical findings and comparisons you may develop.

Story Pages (Example: State of California) offer debt data sorted in a variety of ways, which may include:

  • Sale Date
  • Sold Status
  • Issuer County
  • Issuer Group
  • Issuer Type
  • Issuer
  • Debt Type
  • Purpose
  • Source of Repayment
  • Underwriter
  • Financial Advisor
  • Bond Counsel
  • Trustee

Compare Issuers pages (Example: State of California) allow you to compare up to five issuers. This tool allows you to make your own charts comparing data for proposed and issued debt in these categories:

  • Principal
  • New Money
  • Refinancings

You can refine results by date range, debt type, purpose and source of repayment. You can also view the cost of issuance as a percentage of what is borrowed.

The Annual Debt Transparency Report is required of all issues of debt that were reported to CDIAC on or after January 21, 2017. If the issue requires an ADTR and it was submitted to CDIAC, you will find the ADTR linked to the issue record in any tabular view within Story Page, Compare Issuers, Explore All Data, or the Data Catalog.

Back to Top

What is the source of this data?

State law that took effect in 1982 requires all governmental agencies that issue debt to report information on each issuance to CDIAC [Government Code Sections 8855(i) and 8855(j)]. Agencies must provide information to CDIAC on proposed debt no later than 30 days prior to each issuance, and information and documentation on issued debt no later than 21 days after the sale.

In 2017, a new state law went into effect that requires state and local agencies that have reported an issuance of debt to CDIAC on or after January 21, 2017 to submit an annual report to CDIAC [Government Code section 8855(k)]. The report, known as the Annual Debt Transparency Report, covers a July 1 to June 30 reporting period and must be submitted for each issue of debt that is outstanding during the reporting period. The ADTR must be submitted annually, no later than seven months (effectively, January 31st) following the close of each reporting period, until the debt has been repaid and the proceeds fully spent.

A separate reporting requirement provides the source for the Mello-Roos Yearly Fiscal Status (YFS) Dataset. In 1993, state law was amended to require all agencies issuing Mello-Roos Community Facilities District bonds, including refunding bonds, after January 1, 1993, to annually report information regarding principal outstanding, fund balances, and repayment sources to CDIAC [Government Code section 53359.5(b)]. These reports are due by October 30th of each year and must be submitted until the bonds have been retired.

Instructions for all required reports may be found on CDIAC's website.

Back to Top

Is data on this site audited?

The information displayed is compiled from reports submitted to CDIAC in accordance with State law. The information has not been independently audited for accuracy and completeness. The reliability of the data is the sole responsibility of the reporting governmental agency.

Back to Top

What should I know when comparing data from local governments?

Users are encouraged to focus their comparisons between similar issuers (example: city vs. city), debt types (example: general obligation bonds vs. general obligation bonds) and issuance sizes. Due to the complexities of different debt issuances, be aware that comparing dissimilar issuers, such as a city and a school district, may produce results that are not directly comparable.

Back to Top

What is Story Pages?

Story Pages available on this site provide you with interactive sets of charts that offer deeper insight into data. See a sample story page.

Back to Top

Are there differences between data results produced from the homepage wheel and county map?

Yes. If you select Counties from the homepage wheel, results will include a summary of data for debt issued by all California counties and their subsidiaries. If you select a county on the California map, results will include all debt issued by all issuers in that particular county.

Back to Top

Where can I find data for San Francisco?

San Francisco has a unique status in California as both a city and county. On this site, data for San Francisco is included in the county category.

Back to Top

Are there more data beyond what's available through this site's user interface?

Story Page, which offers notable findings and trends in interactive graphical form, and Compare Issuers, which allows you to compare local governments that issue debt, both provide access to the most commonly sought data. Additionally, more granular data can be found on the Data Catalog and Raw Export pages.

Back to Top

Why is data from my local government not available?

This site includes data from State and local government entities that filed debt reports describing their issuances with CDIAC according to State law. If a field is blank, the local government may not have issued debt, that data category may not have applied for that particular debt issuance, the data may not have been collected during the time period in question, or the issuer may have failed to file information with CDIAC.

Back to Top

Where can I learn about terms commonly used on this site?

Please see our glossary of debt terms.

Back to Top

Do you offer additional help to navigate the data?

Please see our series of tutorials aimed at helping users get the most out of this site.

Back to Top

Do you offer tools for developers to build apps?

The State Treasurer Office has long embraced and promoted the use of technology as a way to help the public better understand government finance numbers. We encourage Web developers to explore this data, create something new and share it with the world. For tools to build software applications, visit Socrata's developer website.

Back to Top

What browsers perform best with this site?

We suggest using Google Chrome for the best user experience. This site supports the most recent versions of Chrome, Internet Explorer, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox. For more details on the most recent supported versions, visit Socrata's support website.

Back to Top

Can I download the raw data?

Yes. You can view raw data for all debt by visiting the Raw Export page, or you can download the data from any dataset found on the Data Catalog page or any Story Page by using the Download or Export link. We recommend downloading data as CSV rather than XLS or XLSX if you plan to do any calculations for number fields.

Back to Top