TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey’s state debt has climbed to a staggering $189.6 billion making it the highest taxpayer debt burden in America, according to a new report by Truth in Accounting. New Jersey has been rated by the report as the “Top Sinkhole State” with a debt per person of $57,900.
In order to become whole financially, New Jersey would need each resident to pay $57,900 to settle the state debt the report concluded.
“New Jersey has held its last-place position since 2014 and needs $57,900 from each state taxpayer to pay off the debt accumulated through the fiscal year 2019. New Jersey’s financial condition will most likely worsen as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The state is considering borrowing more money to help “balance” its budget, but this will cause the state’s overall debt to increase,” the report says.
To put things into perspective, Illinois is second at $52,000, Connecticut is third at $50,000, Hawaii is fourth at $31,000 and Massachusetts is fifth at $30,000.
New Jersey’s Was in Bad Shape Entering the Pandemic
This report shows that New Jersey went into the coronavirus pandemic in dire fiscal health, and it will probably come out of the crisis even worse. Based upon the state’s latest audited financial report, which is dated before the crisis began, New Jersey had a Taxpayer Burden™ of $57,900, earning it an “F” grade from Truth in Accounting.
According to the report:
- New Jersey had $24.9 billion available to pay $214.5 billion worth of bills.
- The outcome was a $189.6 billion shortfall, which breaks down to a burden of $57,900 per taxpayer.
- New Jersey’s unfunded retiree health care benefits decreased by $15 billion due changes in health care costs and the elimination of the Affordable Care Act Health Insurer Fee.
The report blames Governor Phil Murphy and the Democrats who control both the senate and legislature for the dismal financial outlook
New Jersey’s elected officials have made repeated financial decisions that left the state with a debt burden of $189.6 billion. That burden equates to $57,900 for every state taxpayer. New Jersey’s financial problems stem mostly from unfunded retirement obligations that have accumulated over the years. Of the $225.6 billion in retirement benefits promised, the state did not fund $95.7 billion in pension and $76.8 billion in retiree health care benefits.