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The Worst States in Taxpayer Debt Burden and Taxes Per Capita

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According to a report released in September 2017 by Truth in Accounting, a non-profit organization, the states listed below have a per taxpayer debt burden greater than $20,000.  The debt burden or surplus was calculated as the state’s total reported assets minus capital assets and assets restricted by law which was compared to money the state owes, including on pension plans and healthcare benefits for retirees.

Listed from the highest debt burden to the last of those debt burdens greater than 20,000 per taxpayer as of the 2016 fiscal year:

50. New Jersey, $67,200

49. Illinois, $50,400

48.  Connecticut, $49,500

47.  Kentucky, $39,000

46.  Massachusetts, $32,900

45.  Hawaii, $27,100

44.  Delaware, $26,300

43.  California, $21,600

42.  New York, $20,500

Each of these states, with the exception of Kentucky, has long been a one-party state, dominated by the Democratic Party.  Clearly that party is very little concerned about the debt burden it places on its taxpayers.

There are states with a taxpayer surplus, believe it or not. From the highest to the lowest taxpayer surplus we have:

1.  Alaska, $38,200

2.  North Dakota, $24,000

3.  Wyoming, $20,500

4.  Utah, $4,600

5.  Nebraska, $2,600

6.  South Dakota, $2,300

7.  Tennessee, $2,100

8.  Idaho, $1,800

9.  Iowa, $500

The following states have taxpayer debt burdens below $5,000:  Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

According to the total state and local tax revenue per capita data for 2015 of the Tax Policy Center, the highest tax states (including the District of Columbia) with per capita taxes above $5,000 are:

51.  Washington, DC, $10,605

50.  North Dakota, $9,183

49.  New York, $8,743

48.  Connecticut, $7,422

47.  New Jersey, $6,680

46.  Wyoming, $6,389

45.  Massachusetts, $6,349

44.  Hawaii, $6,111

43.  Minnesota, $5,944

42.  California, $5,864

41.  Maryland, $5,857

40.  Vermont, $5,800

39.  Illinois, $5,751

38.  Rhode Island, $5,421

37.  Maine, $5,105

Most of the states with the greatest debt burdens are also in this list of states with the highest total taxes per capita.  North Dakota and Wyoming are special cases with low populations and very high tax revenues from oil and gas and in Wyoming’s case also from coal.

One can escape the high taxes and the high debt burdens by pulling up stakes and moving to a state with lower taxes and lower debt burdens.  From July 2013 to July 2014, the following states had net domestic migration loses of more than 15,000 people:

1-New York (-153,921)
2-Illinois (-94,956)
3-New Jersey (-55,469)
4-California (-32,090)
5-Pennsylvania (-31,448)
6-Michigan (-28,679)
7-Connecticut (-26,216)
8-Virginia (-20,400)
9-Ohio (-18,243)
10-Massachusetts (-16,354)
11-Maryland (-15,295)
Once again, this list of states with the largest net losses in domestic migration has 8 solid blue states and 3 states which lean to being blue states.

The governance of state and local governments has consequences.  Bad governance causes bad effects.  The examples above of bad governance are commonly paired with other examples such as low ratings for freedom in the state.


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