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On the basis of its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, Ohio ranks 11th among the US states and Puerto Rico for its fiscal health. On a cash basis, Ohio has between 4.64 and 6.22 times the cash needed to cover short-term liabilities. Revenues exceed expenses by 5 percent, producing a surplus of $278 per capita. Net assets are 10 percent of total assets, and total liabilities are 54 percent of total assets, for a total liability per capita of $3,579. Total debt is $17.75 billion. Unfunded liabilities are $262.47 billion, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) are $15.46 billion. Total liabilities are equal to 61 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. (Ohio ranks 5th.)
  • Budget solvency measures whether a state can cover its fiscal year spending using current revenues. Did it run a shortfall during the year? (Ohio ranks 18th.)
  • 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? (Ohio ranks 38th.)
  • 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? (Ohio ranks 21st.)
  • 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? (Ohio ranks 48th.)

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