July 11, 2017

#39 | Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition: New York

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On the basis of its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, New York is ranked 39th among the US states for its fiscal health. On a cash basis, New York has between 79 percent and 176 percent of the cash needed to meet short-term obligations. Revenues exceed expenses by 4 percent, and net position improved by $320 per capita in FY 2015. On a long-run basis, New York has a net asset ratio of −0.24. Long-term liabilities are 56 percent of total assets, or $4,355 per capita. Total primary government debt is $57.39 billion, or 5 percent of state personal income. Unfunded pension obligations, on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, are $321.07 billion, or 28 percent of personal income. OPEB is 7 percent of state personal income.

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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. (New York ranks 41st.)
  • Budget solvency measures whether a state can cover its fiscal year spending using current revenues. Did it run a shortfall during the year? (New York ranks 25th.)
  • 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? (New York ranks 39th.)
  • 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? (New York ranks 37th.)
  • Trust fund solvency measures how much debt a state has. How large are unfunded pension liabilities, OPEB liabilities, and state debt compared to the state personal income? (New York ranks 21st.)

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

To read all our work on New York, go to mercatus.org/states/newyork