News

Thirty-nine states ill-prepared for coronavirus pandemic

September 22, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Courtney Fox
cfox@truthinaccounting.org 

CHICAGO — The 2020 Financial State of the States report surveys the fiscal health of the 50 states prior to the coronavirus pandemic. This data is released today by Truth in Accounting (TIA), a think tank that analyzes government financial reporting. TIA analysts draw their data from the fiscal year 2019 audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, which is the latest available data.

The 2020 report found that 39 states did not have enough money to pay all of their bills. Most of the states were ill-prepared for any crisis, much less one as serious as what we are currently facing. Total debt among the 50 states amounted to $1.4 trillion at the end of the fiscal year 2019, which will only worsen as the states face varying and unpredictable effects from the global pandemic.

There is some good news as the report found that 11 states had at least some money set aside at the beginning of the pandemic. But even the healthiest of states are projected to lose billions of dollars in revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Truth in Accounting’s rough estimates, the 50 states are projected to lose a combined $397 billion in revenue. The uncertainty surrounding this crisis makes it impossible to determine how much will be needed to maintain government services and benefits, but these states’ overall debt will most likely increase. 

This new data comes as the federal government is considering additional aid for the states. The Financial State of the States report shows the true fiscal health of the 50 states prior to the pandemic, which is the most recent available data.

“The bottom line is that the majority of states went into the pandemic in poor fiscal health and they will most likely come out of it even worse,” says Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of Truth in Accounting. 

You can view this year’s full Financial State of the States report here. The full 50 state ranking is included below. 

  1. Alaska | Taxpayer Surplus: $77,400

  2. North Dakota | Taxpayer Surplus: $37,700

  3. Wyoming | Taxpayer Surplus: $19,600

  4. Utah | Taxpayer Surplus: $5,500

  5. Tennessee | Taxpayer Surplus: $3,400

  6. South Dakota | Taxpayer Surplus: $3,300

  7. Nebraska | Taxpayer Surplus: $2,800

  8. Idaho | Taxpayer Surplus: $2,800

  9. Oregon | Taxpayer Surplus: $2,600

  10. Iowa | Taxpayer Surplus: $1,500

  11. Minnesota | Taxpayer Surplus: $100

  12. Oklahoma | Taxpayer Burden: -$700

  13. Virginia | Taxpayer Burden: -$800

  14. Indiana | Taxpayer Burden: -$1,300

  15. North Carolina | Taxpayer Burden: -$1,400

  16. Florida | Taxpayer Burden: -$1,600

  17. Arkansas | Taxpayer Burden: -$1,700

  18. Arizona | Taxpayer Burden: -$1,700

  19. Montana | Taxpayer Burden: -$2,000

  20. Colorado | Taxpayer Burden: -$2,600

  21. Nevada | Taxpayer Burden: -$2,600

  22. Georgia | Taxpayer Burden: -$2,900

  23. Wisconsin | Taxpayer Burden: -$3,100

  24. New Hampshire | Taxpayer Burden: -$3,900

  25. Missouri | Taxpayer Burden: -$4,300

  26. Ohio | Taxpayer Burden: -$5,800

  27. Washington | Taxpayer Burden: -$6,100

  28. Kansas | Taxpayer Burden: -$6,200

  29. West Virginia | Taxpayer Burden: -$6,300

  30. Maine | Taxpayer Burden: -$6,700

  31. New Mexico | Taxpayer Burden: -$7,500

  32. Alabama | Taxpayer Burden: -$7,600

  33. Mississippi | Taxpayer Burden: -$10,400

  34. Texas | Taxpayer Burden: -$11,300

  35. South Carolina | Taxpayer Burden: -$13,400

  36. Rhode Island | Taxpayer Burden: -$14,700

  37. Maryland | Taxpayer Burden: -$15,200

  38. Pennsylvania | Taxpayer Burden: -$16,400

  39. Michigan | Taxpayer Burden: -$17,000

  40. Louisiana | Taxpayer Burden: -$17,100

  41. New York | Taxpayer Burden: -$17,200

  42. Vermont | Taxpayer Burden: -$18,900

  43. California* | Taxpayer Burden: -$21,100

  44. Kentucky | Taxpayer Burden: -$24,700

  45. Delaware | Taxpayer Burden: -$24,900

  46. Massachusetts | Taxpayer Burden: -$30,100

  47. Hawaii | Taxpayer Burden: -$31,700

  48. Connecticut | Taxpayer Burden: -$50,700

  49. Illinois | Taxpayer Burden: -$52,000

  50. New Jersey | Taxpayer Burden: -$57,900

The Financial State of the States report is an in-depth study of the financial condition of the 50 states. The data for this report was derived from states’ 2019 comprehensive annual financial reports and retirement plans’ reports.

Founded in 2002, Truth in Accounting is dedicated to educating and empowering citizens with understandable, reliable, and transparent government financial information. Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 40 years of experience in the field.

*As of August 31, 2020, California had not released its FY 2019 comprehensive annual financial report. As a result, we were forced to use FY 2018 data for the state of California.

 
 
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