States In Debt
Several states in the Union are discussing bankruptcy, despite opposition in Washington. How bad is it? The Daily Beast crunches the numbers of all 50 states to find who's in the deepest debt—and it isn't who you think.
So which states are the most vulnerable—in terms of indebtedness and unfunded liabilities—and thus more likely to consider this drastic option, should it be made available? The Daily Beast first state indebtedness last August, measuring debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio—the higher the ratio, the more likely a state would remain mired in debt. Now they’ve updated the data. These rankings reflect 2009 GDP (current dollars) data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, while the 2009 debt figures are from the U.S. Census.
Meanwhile, debt is just half the story. The other half of their ranking is split evenly between each state’s percent of unfunded pension obligations, and unfunded health care obligations for retirees. Ties were broken by the debt-to-GDP ratio.
Future budget shortfall levels are based on an independent analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which uses estimates of next year’s baseline budget spending compared to expected revenue.
It’s clear that debt is far from a Washington problem, and it belongs to both parties. See where your state ranks.
(AP Photo/Michael Probst)