Ranking the States by fiscal condition

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks each US state’s financial health based on short- and long-term debt and other key fiscal obligations, such as unfunded pensions and healthcare benefits. This 2016 edition updates the version the Mercatus Center published in 2015. Using the approach pioneered in 2015, the 2016 edition presents information from each state’s audited financial report in an easily accessible format, this time including Puerto Rico to provide a benchmark of poor fiscal performance.
    The study also highlights some of the limits of the financial data reported by state governments. States release these data years after they are most relevant, and because the information is highly aggregated, analysts and the public have difficulty discerning the true fiscal position of any state.

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    Alaska, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota rank in the top five states, while Kentucky, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut rank in the bottom five states, largely owing to the low amounts of cash they have on hand and their large debt obligations.

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  3. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    I wouldn't take any of this very seriously. I live in one of those red states Mercatus says is doing just fine. And I gotta tell you we just suffered our 4th credit downgrade. Our credit rating is just above junk, and if the state's finances continue to degrade, and I see no reason why they won't, our state's debt will be junk in the not too distant future. My state has raided its pension fund every year for the last 8 years in order to raise cash. It almost factored its tobacco settlement money, selling 600 million dollars of future cash for 400 million dollars of cash today to fix its 2016 budget hole. Only a huge public outcry prevented it. The state has consistently run annual deficits of between 200 and 300 million dollars each and every year for the last 7 years. Contrary to the Mercatus report, my state's finances are not fine. They aren't even average. My state lags neighboring states in virtually everything.

    I'can't help but notice, virtually all the states Mercatus rates as poor or below average are Democratic states, and virtually all the good states, average or better, are Republican states.

    Mercatus is a right wing think tank. So it's a poor reference for credible data. It's very partisan.
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Here is a comparison of the States based on relative levels of State and local taxation of persons: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-states-to-be-a-taxpayer/2416/
    And corporate tax rates: http://taxfoundation.org/article/state-corporate-income-tax-rates-and-brackets-2016
    Here is a comparison of the States based on GINI coefficient: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Gini_coefficient
    And finally, wallethub's school system rank - click on the "quality" button to remove "safety" criterion: https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-schools/5335/
    Makes for some interesting comparisons with Mercatur's measurements of "solvency". Not a single state in the top ten for "solvency" is in the top ten for school system quality, for example.
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  7. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    As a follow-up, the Mercatus Center rates my state as good or average, but all those states which Mercatus rates as bad or below average have higher credit ratings than my state; 41 states have a higher credit rating than my state. Only 3 states have a lower credit rating, yet Mercatus considers my state average. Yeah, that "study" is a study in bullshit, and we have plenty of it in Kansas.

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