© 2016, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This article analyzes the factors that directly influence levels of debt in Spanish local governments. Specifically, the main objective is to find out the extent to which indebtedness is originated by controllable factors that public managers can influence, or whether it hinges on other variables beyond managers’ control. The importance of this issue has intensified since the start of the crisis in 2008, due to the abrupt decline of revenues and, simultaneously, to the fact that the levels of costs these institutions face has remained the same or, in some cases, increased. Results can be explored from multiple perspectives, given that the set of explanatory factors is also multiple. However, the most interesting finding is the varying effect of each covariate depending on a municipality's specific debt level, which suggests that economic policy recommendations should not be homogeneous across local governments.