State Fiscal Condition: Ranking the 50 States

Just ran across this:

By almost any measure: budget solvency, long-run solvency, service-level solvency, or the combo “fiscal condition”, the maps look mostly like the blue-red divide, with “blue” on the insolvent/bad fiscal condition side. I mean, here are the five worst “fiscal condition” states:

New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California

or, if you think that’s just a fluke, the next five worst:

New York, Maryland, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

In general, the study provides a bit of an insight into which kind of politics, locally, lead to better financial health of states.

Most of the red states seem to be benefit queens, taking more from the federal government than they put in. Do you figures take that into account?

I don’t know if I’d reach the same conclusion. There are a lot of “red” states with a large “blue” metro area that skews things. For example, Illinois–you just CANNOT talk about the state as a whole with any meaning. I’m pretty sure California is the same way.

Alaska is effectively a member of OPEC and you could pay off every service in Montana with a $20 and get change back. I’m not impressed.

Drop the small-population states. Look at the rest. Still same.

I resemble that remark.

Once again, it’s the Illinois Problem (thanks, Elemenopy): By land area, Montana is two-thirds West Dakota and one-third Western Washington Of The Northern Rockies. We don’t have the Problem* quite as bad as Illinois does, but trying to compare Missoula to Havre is a fool’s errand just the same. Limiting this to just one axis, Missoula has a fairly useful city bus system with non-trivial scheduled routes and Havre can barely keep a private taxi service in business.

*(Which isn’t a problem unless you’re trying to use states as your measure of economic success.)

(I was born in the non-Chicagoland part of Illinois, BTW.)