Thursday, April 1, 2010

List of States with Biggest Debt Burdens - Some Surprising Results

This chart, published in the New York Times and based on work by Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute, shows the states with the most serious debt problems. Maybe I don't follow state issues closely enough, but I was surprised to find that Alaska had the most debt and that California was not very high on the list.

State debt is a combination of several factors, of course, including past deficits (I assumed California would be higher just based on their current levels of red ink) and unfunded liabilities for things such as pensions for state bureaucrats.

I may be wrong, but I suspect Alaska is in better shape than these numbers indicate because of the ability to tax oil and other naturual resources. I have no reason for any optimism about places such as Rhode Island and Ohio.

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