New Jersey might be one of the happiest states in the nation, but its finances give residents a lot of reason to frown.
According to an annual report released by Truth In Accounting, the Garden State has, for the fifth straight year, the worst finances of any state in the country.
New Jersey’s current debt burden is nearly $210 billion – that comes out to more than $65,000 of debt per every taxpayer. That’s almost $13,000 more per taxpayer than the second worse state, Illinois. If that isn’t astonishing, nothing is. Even worse, New Jersey’s economy has been relatively strong and the unemployment rate in the state is the lowest ever recorded. Even so, Truth In Accounting estimates that New Jersey’s financial condition worsened by 7% over fiscal year 2018.
The financial troubles New Jersey faces are mostly due to the state’s obligations of $212 billion to its retirees which have remained mostly unfunded for years, with debt on those obligations piling up. Analysts say that such serious debt will ruin New Jersey’s credit rating and overall financial standing, which can eventually affect state services. As things are now, future taxpayers will be burdened with a lot more debt than they deserve.
Three states, Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming, received “A” ratings from the think-tank, with surpluses of more than $10,000 per taxpayer.