New York

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

Summary 

On the basis of its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, New York ranks 42nd among the US states and Puerto Rico for its fiscal health. On a cash basis, New York has between 0.69 and 1.70 times the cash to cover short-term liabilities. Revenues exceed expenses by 2 percent, producing a surplus of $125 per capita. On a long-run basis, a negative net asset ratio of −0.29 and a total-liabilitiest-to-total-assets ratio of 0.62 point to the state’s use of debt financing. Total debt is $58.32 billion. Unfunded pension liabilities are $270.58 billion on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) are $78.73 billion. These three liabilities are equal to 37 percent of 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. (New York ranks 42nd.)
  • 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 34th.)
  • 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 44th.)
  • 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 35th.)
  • 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 23rd.)

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-2016-edition.