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On the basis of its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, Missouri ranks 14th among the US states and Puerto Rico for its fiscal health. On a cash basis, Missouri has between 2.26 and 4.49 times the cash needed to cover short-term liabilities. Revenues exceed expenses by 2 percent, producing a surplus of $98 per capita. On a long-run basis, net assets are 7 percent of total assets, and total liabilities are 18 percent of total assets. Total debt is $3.79 billion. Unfunded pension liabilities are $78.11 billion, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) are $2.47 billion. These three liabilities are equal to 34 percent of total state personal income.

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. (Missouri ranks 12th.)
  • Budget solvency measures whether a state can cover its fiscal year spending using current revenues. Did it run a shortfall during the year? (Missouri ranks 31st.)
  • 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? (Missouri ranks 15th.)
  • 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? (Missouri ranks 6th.)
  • 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? (Missouri ranks 31st.) 

For a complete explanation of the methodology used to calculate Missouri's fiscal health rankings, download the full paper and the dataset at mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings-2016-edition.