October 9, 2018

#25 | Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition: Arkansas

Contact us
To speak with a scholar or learn more on this topic, visit our contact page.


On the basis of its solvency in five separate categories, Arkansas ranks 25th among the US states for fiscal health. Arkansas has between 3.17 and 4.14 times the cash needed to cover short-term obligations. Revenues exceed expenses by 4 percent, with an improving net position of $248 per capita. In the long run, Arkansas has a net asset ratio of 0.11. Long-term liabilities are lower than the national average, at 35 percent of total assets, or $2,986 per capita. Total unfunded pension liabilities that are guaranteed to be paid are $48.17 billion, or 41 percent of state personal income. OPEB are $0.12 billion, or less than 1 percent of state personal income.Share this

Key Terms

  • Cash solvency measures whether a state has enough cash to cover its short-term bills, which include accounts payable, vouchers, warrants, and short-term debt. (Arkansas ranks 11th.)
  • Budget solvency measures whether a state can cover its fiscal year spending using current revenues. Did it run a shortfall during the year? (Arkansas ranks 20th.)
  • Long-run solvency measures whether a state has a hedge against large long-term liabilities. Are enough assets available to cushion the state from potential shocks or long-term fiscal risks? (Arkansas ranks 23rd.)
  • Service-level solvency measures how high taxes, revenues, and spending are when compared to state personal income. Do states have enough “fiscal slack”? If spending commitments demand more revenues, are states in a good position to increase taxes without harming the economy? Is spending high or low relative to the tax base? (Arkansas ranks 45th.)
  • Trust fund solvency measures how much debt a state has. How large are unfunded pension liabilities and OPEB liabilities compared to the state personal income? (Arkansas ranks 26th.)

For a complete explanation of the methodology used to calculate Arkansas's fiscal health rankings, download the full paper and the dataset at mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings.

For all our work on Arkansas, go to mercatus.org/states/arkansas.