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.
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)
3-New Jersey (-55,469)
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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