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On the basis of its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, Wyoming ranks third among the US states and Puerto Rico for its fiscal health. Wyoming has between 4.17 and 5.32 times the cash needed to cover short-term liabilities. Revenues exceed expenses by 48 percent, producing a surplus $3,625 per capita. Net assets are 71 percent of total assets, and total liabilities are 7 percent of total assets. Total debt is $29 million. Unfunded pension liabilities are $10.53 billion on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) are $244 million. 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. (Wyoming ranks 8th.)
  • Budget solvency measures whether a state can cover its fiscal year spending using current revenues. Did it run a shortfall during the year? (Wyoming ranks 2nd.)
  • 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? (Wyoming ranks 7th.)
  • 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? (Wyoming ranks 44th.)
  • 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? (Wyoming ranks 7th.)

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