For all the bloviating we hear from the left about how horrible and backward red states are, the right wing states certainly take the cake when it comes to being a better place to live and work.
According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the states that are solidly Republican, or right of center, seem to be better off financially than any of the blue states.
As per the report “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition,” red states seem to sweep away the competition in terms of being able to pay its bills, and keep to its long term financial plans, including health care costs, and pension plans.
The rankings are broken down as such.
Cash solvency. Does a state have enough cash on hand to cover its short-term bills?
-Budget solvency. Can a state cover its fiscal year spending with current revenues, or does it have a budget shortfall?
-Long-run solvency. Can a state meet its long-term spending commitments? Will there be enough money to cushion it from economic shocks or other long-term fiscal risks?
-Service-level solvency. How much “fiscal slack” does a state have to increase spending if citizens demand more services?
-Trust fund solvency. How much debt does a state have? How large are its unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities?
As you can see by this chart provided by Investors Business Daily, those states in the top 10 that are the most fiscally solvent are solidly Republican, with the exception of Florida who is purple. Meanwhile, those that are fiscally horrid are all consistently voting Democrat, with the exception being Kentucky.
Now, it should be noted that some of these states owe a lot of their financial success to fortunate occurrences, such as the discovery of oil wells made available due to fracking. As the Mercatus Center states,
Unpredictable revenue sources may play a role in short-term fiscal health. The top-performing states owe some of their success to unpredictable revenue sources. Since the most recent data is from fiscal year 2014, it appears as though these states are very well off, but declining oil prices and the budget crises that are currently unfolding in Alaska and other oil-producing states highlight the danger of expanding revenue based on volatile revenue sources.
The difference between red and blue states is that fiscal responsibility is often something practiced by Republican led states, and therefor may not be in too much danger of declining – or at least declining too far – so long as they stick to their principles.
This is in contrast to the blue states, which the Mercatus Center notes “each state has massive debt obligations. Each of the bottom five states exhibits serious signs of fiscal distress.”
Maybe right wing ideals about fiscal responsibility aren’t so bad after all.