Congressmen, presidents and bureaucrats from both political parties have generated an $18 trillion national debt and the most sluggish economy since the 1930s, but state officials across the country are no slouches in running up huge debts and hobbling their economic climates.
The result is some states are busted, with sluggish economies, while others are busting loose with growing economies and more opportunity. The reasons for both aren’t hard to find, they’re all in the numbers.
Take California and New York, for example, two states that have had big-spending governors and legislators for decades. Based on data compiled by statedatalab.org and Open The Books, residents of both states may want to prepare for hard times ahead.
California has $328 billion in debts, compared to only $94 billion in assets, for a deficit of $234 billion. If debt holders all tell state officials to pay up in 2016, every Californian will have to pay an additional $20,800 in taxes.
Similarly, New York has $257 billion in debt and $130 billion in assets. That makes the Empire State’s deficit $127 billion, or about half of California’s. Even so, if the debts all come due next year, it will mean another $20,700 in taxes for New Yorkers.
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Ranked according to the difference between their assets and debts, California is at the bottom of the 50 states, while New York ranks 47th. But as the adjoining chart illustrates, other states are in bad shape, too. See how all 50 states rank here.