It can be difficult to objectively assess the quality of a state’s management. The economy and standard of living can be affected by decisions made decades ago, forces outside the control of the state’s government and administrators, as well as the government’s own actions.
Every year, 24/7 Wall St. tries to answer this question by conducting an extensive survey of every state. To determine how well states are managed, they examined their financial data, as well as the services they provide and their residents’ standard of living.
To determine how well the states are run, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed hundreds of data sets from dozens of sources. They looked at each state’s debt, revenue, expenditure, and deficit to determine how well it was managed fiscally. They reviewed taxes, exports, and GDP growth, including a breakdown by sector, to identify how each state was managing its resources. They looked at poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, violent crime and foreclosure rates to assess the well-being of the state’s residents.
While each state is different, the best-run states share certain characteristics, as do the worst run. For example, the populations of the worse-off states tended to have lower standards of living. Violent crime rates in these states were usually higher and residents were much less likely to have a high school diploma.
The worst-run states also tended to have better fiscal management reflected in higher budget shortfalls and lower credit ratings by Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poors.
The better-run states tended to display stable fiscal management. Pensions were more likely to be fully funded, debt was lower, and budget deficits smaller. Credit ratings agencies also were much more likely to rate the well-run states favorably. Here are the 5 best-run and 5 worst-run states in America.
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