Connecticut

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How Does Connecticut Compare to Other States?

Connecticut ranks 47th among US states for its fiscal health, based on its fiscal solvency in five separate categories.

Connecticut’s fiscal position was poor in FY 2013. The state had barely the cash needed to cover short-term spending. Connecticut was able to meet its fiscal obligations with revenues matched to expenses, but on a long-run basis, Connecticut’s fiscal metrics point to several areas of weakness. Long-term liabilities exceeded total assets by 20 percent. The per capita liability was $8,350 , which is three times the national average. Connecticut’s five pension systems had a total unfunded liability of $76 billion when calculated on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis. Other post employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities were relatively large at $22.5  billion and they were unfunded, leaving the system on a pay-as-you-go basis. These factors explain Connecticut’s low rank for fiscal solvency.

See “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition” for a complete explanation of the methodology used to calculate Connecticut’s fiscal health rankings.

1. Connecticut ranks 48th in terms of cash solvency.

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. Connecticut could cover only 40 percent of its short-term bills with the most liquid forms of cash. When including less liquid forms of cash, Connecticut had slightly more than the amount needed to fully cover all short-term spending, a ratio of 1.1 times cash to short-term liabilities.

 

Cash ratio

Quick ratio

Current ratio

Connecticut

0.40

1.11

1.15

National average

2.23

3.02

3.37 

2. Connecticut ranks 42nd in terms of budget solvency.

Budget solvency measures whether a state can cover its fiscal year spending out of current revenues. Did it run a shortfall during the year? With revenues equal to expenses in FY 2013, Connecticut showed a small surplus of $29 per capita.

 

Operating ratio

Surplus (deficit) per capita

Connecticut

1.00

$29

National average

1.07

$473

3. Connecticut ranks 47th in terms of long-run solvency.

Long-run solvency measures whether a state has a hedge against large long-term liabilities. Are there enough assets available to cushion the state from potential shocks or long-term fiscal risks? On a long-run basis, Connecticut did not have sufficient assets to cover all long-term liabilities. Net assets are those left over after the government has paid its debts. They are a subset of total assets, which also include capital and government buildings. The net asset ratio measures the total of restricted and unrestricted assets, or net assets, as a portion of total assets. Connecticut’s negative net asset ratio indicates that liabilities exceed total net assets. Liabilities were 1.2 times the amount of total assets. Connecticut’s residents carried a long-term liability of $8,350 per capita, three times the national average.

 

Net asset ratio

Long-term liability ratio

Long-term liability per capita

Connecticut

−0.82

1.26

$8,350

National average

0.03

0.40

$2,768 

4. Connecticut ranks 32nd in terms of service-level solvency.

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? Connecticut’s tax revenues represented 7 percent of state personal income. Expenses were 13 percent of total state personal income, which matched the ratio of revenues to state income, indicating the state was relying on nontax sources to fund spending.

 

Tax to income ratio

Revenues to income ratio

Expenses to income ratio

Connecticut

0.07

0.13

0.13

National average

0.06

0.14

0.13 

5. Connecticut ranks 42nd in terms of trust fund solvency.

Trust fund solvency measures how much debt a state has. How large are unfunded pension liabilities, other postemployment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, and state debt compared to the state personal income? On a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, Connecticut’s unfunded pension liabilities represented 35 percent of the state’s personal income. (Pension benefits are recalculated based on a discount rate of 3.38 percent to account for the government’s guarantee to pay employees earned benefits.) Connecticut’s ratio of unfunded OPEB to state income was relatively high at 10 percent, more than twice the national average. Debt loads were also high, with total bonded debt accounting for 9 percent of state personal income.  

 

Pension to income ratio

OPEB to income ratio

Debt to income ratio

Connecticut

0.35

0.10

0.09

National average

0.29

0.04

0.04 

State debt 

State debt is calculated from each state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. At $14 billion, Connecticut had more than twice the amount of general obligation debt as the national average, contributing to a total primary government debt of nearly $20 billion, or 9 percent of total state personal income. 

General obligation bonds

Total primary government debt

State personal income

Ratio of debt to state personal income

Total primary debt per capita

Connecticut

$14.23 billion

$19.68 billion

$218.13 billion

9.0%

$5,481

National average

$6.08 billion

$12.60 billion

$282.05 billion

4.0%

$1,824

Pension liability 

Pension liability is calculated from each state’s pension actuarial reports. Connecticut’s five state-operated pension plans had a total unfunded liability of $76 billion, when calculated on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis. 

Unfunded pension liability

Funded ratio

Market value of unfunded liability (risk-adjusted discount rate)

Market value of funded liability ratio

Connecticut

$25.54 billion

50%

$76.40 billion

25%

National average

$19.85 billion

70%

$78.79 billion

40% 

OPEB liability 

OPEB liability is calculated from each state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. OPEB liabilities in Connecticut were significant at more than $22 billion, or 10 percent of state personal income, and they were unfunded with no assets to back the liabilities.

 

Total unfunded OPEB liability

Funded ratio

Connecticut

$22.58 billion

0%

National average

$10.84 billion

11%