On the same day that a Virginia think tank found states run by Republicans are not only low-tax but also the best-run, the same outfit published data ranking Michigan, under the GOP’s firm control, only 35th out of the 50 states in having a healthy “overall fiscal condition.”
Despite lowering taxes over the past half-dozen years and completing balanced budgets in a timely manner, Michigan’s overall cash position is not as strong as it should be, according to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, one of the nation’s leading conservative policy forums.
Mercatus considers Florida to be the state with the best overall fiscal condition — the ability to cover its obligations, such as pension costs and budget solvency. North Dakota is runner-up, followed by South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
New Jersey was considered to have the worst overall fiscal condition. Also in the bottom five are Illinois (49th), Massachusetts (48th), Kentucky (47th), and Maryland (46th).
Pennsylvania had the second-worst ranking among the Great Lakes states at 45th. New York came in 39th, Wisconsin at 29th, Minnesota at 24th, Indiana at 16th and the state that made the biggest jump up in the ratings, Ohio at 13th.
Some states slumped since last year, however. Alaska, for instance, saw its ranking drop because of changes in energy prices that affected its economy as well as state finances.
The Gongwer Report quoted Kurt Weiss, a spokesman for Michigan’s budget office, saying that state officials had not been able to review the full report. Weiss said that “It’s important to note that Michigan’s net position is showing improvement and the state has taken giant steps forward to address long-term liabilities, both in the areas of pension and OPEB, reducing our long-term retirement liabilities by more than $20 billion since the reforms that were passed in 2012.