NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Financial State of the States

September 28, 2015

Despite an improvement in the economy, the amount of bills accumulated by the states has not significantly decreased. States still have almost $1.3 trillion of unfunded debt.

Currently, 39 states have deficits, thus, they've accrued a taxpayer burden. The taxpayer burden is the amount each taxpayer would have to pay the state's treasury in order for the state to be debt free.

To correct these issues a new system called Full Accrual Calculations and Techniques (FACT) has been developed and would require states to recognize expenses when incurred regardless of when they are paid.

  • The $1.6 trillion in taxes paid by the top quintile represented approximately 30% of its pre-tax income.
  • The five worst taxpayer burdens were: New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky and Massachusetts.
  • The best taxpayer surpluses were attained by Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota.

The reasons for these taxpayer burdens is caused by states using outdated accounting policies to calculate budgets and financial reports and not being held to the same accounting standards as most businesses.

Source: Robert Rector, "Financial State of the States," Truth in Accounting, September 2015.

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