America’s 50 states are collectively over $4 trillion in debt according to a new study by an independent, non-partisan think tank.
State Budget Solutions‘ third annual State Debt Report shows that aggregate state debt fell from $4.24 trillion last year to $4.19 trillion this year. State Budget Solutions’ debt calculations include a state’s regular debt, the fiscal year 2013 budget gap, outstanding unemployment trust fund loans, unfunded other post employment benefit liabilities, and the state’s unfunded pension liabilities.
California, again, led all states in total debt weighing in at $617 billion in unfunded liabilities. On a per capita basis, each Californian faces $16,386 in state debt compared to just $11,117 owed by each Texan. The top five states in total debt burden where California, New York ($300 billion), Texas ($286 billion), New Jersey ($282 billion), and New Jersey ($271 billion). The same five states led the ranking last year.
Unfunded public pension liabilities are the main drivers of state fiscal woes, accounting for $2.8 trillion of the shortfall. Other post employment benefits, including health care, account for another $627 billion in debt. California faces $398 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and alone.