California, Texas, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Illinois among the worst
GLEN ALLEN, Va., Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Budget Solutions, a national nonprofit dedicated to fiscal responsibility, released an in-depth study revealing that states are a combined $5.1 trillion in debt. This equals roughly a staggering $16,178 for every man, woman and child. $3.9 trillion in unfunded public pension promises is the single most negative factor. The report reveals that the extent to which state governments are saddling Americans with debt is largely hidden from the public eye.
State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report examines unfunded public pension liabilities, outstanding debt, unfunded other post employment benefit liabilities, and outstanding unemployment trust fund loans to provide a comprehensive look at state obligations often obscured by traditional financial reporting.
California leads the nation with $778 billion in state debt, mostly as a result of the state's $584 billion unfunded public pension liability. New York ($388 billion), Texas ($341 billion), Illinois ($321 billion), and Ohio ($321 billion) round out the top 5 states with the largest amounts of state debt. The report also features an interactive map that highlights each state's debt.
"This report shows $5.1 trillion dollars in broken promises, reckless leadership and fiscal irresponsibility," said Bob Williams, President of State Budget Solutions.
Williams added, "Breaking down the state debt totals reflects the alarming toll that reducing that debt may take on citizens, the local economy, and state budgets if lawmakers do not take drastic action. Fiscal changes are needed, and they are needed now."
While $5.1 trillion of debt is staggering in its own right, the study reveals that combined, state debt is equal to $16,178 for every resident of a U.S. state. Alaska's state debt per capita is equal to $40,714 per person, followed by Hawaii ($33,111), Connecticut ($31,298), Ohio ($27,836), and Illinois ($24,959). Total state debt is also equal to 33 percent of state gross product, and 469 percent of all fiscal year 2012 state general and other fund expenditures.
"Millions of Americans who interact with or rely on their state governments each and every day must understand their state's true fiscal condition. In too many cases, elected officials have betrayed the trust of citizens by putting politics before people and families. Over time, unaddressed state debt will take its toll on state budgets as the money once expected to fund education, healthcare, and more will have to be redirected to pay for these broken promises," Williams added.
CLICK HERE to read the entire State Budget Solutions report.
SOURCE State Budget Solutions