LILLEY: New Jersey’s Financial Condition Is Dead Last in the Nation

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Despite federal pandemic relief funds, record tax revenues and a lot of happy talk from Gov. Murphy, New Jersey’s long-term financial condition was ranked the worst in the nation.  That’s according to Truth In Accounting (TIA), which just published its 13th annual review “Financial State of the States 2022.”

While the Murphy touts New Jersey’s various upgrades from the bond rating agencies, TIA points out that bond rating agencies focus on the needs of bondholders, with bonded debt comprising only a small portion (about a quarter) of New Jersey’s long-term liabilities, while TIA focuses on taxpayers, who will have to deal with ALL of New Jersey’s long-term liabilities.

Here are some of TIA’s grim details for New Jersey (for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021):

  • Dropped to 50th from last year’s 49th.
  • The only state to experience a decrease in its financial condition from last year.
  • Has been in the bottom five states for 13 years – or every year of TIA’s review.
  • At $58,700 of debt per taxpayer, one of six states to get an “F” for its financial condition.

The bottom five “Sinkhole” states and their debt-per-taxpayer are:

50.  New Jersey – $58,700

49.  Connecticut – $56,500

48.  Illinois – $49,500

47.  Hawaii – $33,300

46.  Massachusetts – $28,100

Note that all five are “Blue” states, with powerful government unions, high taxes and high government spending, so add “highly indebted” to the list of Blue state characteristics.

Here are the top five “Sunshine” states: Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota.  Note that all are “Red” states, with weaker government unions, smaller governments and lower taxes — and less debt.

New Jersey is a Blue state with a very Blue governor, who has increased taxes, ramped up government spending by 40% and taken good care of his government-union political supporters.  He has decidedly not addressed New Jersey’s long-term financial condition and TIA’s ranking is proof of this.

Murphy is off chasing his dreams for higher office and will be long gone when the reckoning comes, but the reckoning will come and, as TIA shows, New Jersey taxpayers are going to pay a lot for it.

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