By the reckoning of the Mercatus Center we’re in the worst fiscal shape of any state. I found its conclusion most interesting:
So you think it’s beyond politics?
I think a lot of it is. Certainly politics figures into the whole thing – how legislatures and governors make decisions over time, how do they prioritize. Politicians tend to focus on the short-term, and I think that’s the story here. But it’s a 30-year story that we’ve got these pension benefits we can promise them, we can issue debt, we don’t have to think about that until tomorrow. Tomorrow is now in these states. And you see that in cities, too – Chicago, or you see that in Puerto Rico. That’s the past coming to you today, past decisions coming to you now.
That’s my take, too.
However, take a gander at the map that accompanies the post linked above. I find two things interesting. First, the richer the state, the worse fiscal shape its in. Or maybe it’s that having one extremely large city is a critical factor in making a state fiscally irresponsible. And Illinois is in much worse financial shape than any other Midwestern state while California is in much worse financial shape than any other Western state. That means that stepping across the state line is a perfectly workable strategy for getting out of the line of fire and the out-migration statistics for both states support that.