Idaho

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Summary

On the basis of its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, Idaho ranks 12th among the US states  and Puerto Rico for its fiscal health. Idaho’s fiscal position is strong. The state has between 2.68 and 4.08 times the cash needed to cover short-term liabilities. Revenues exceed expenses by 13 percent, producing a per capita surplus of $597. Net assets are 35 percent of total assets, and total liabilities account for 11 percent of total assets. Debt totals $1.34 billion. Unfunded pension liabilities are $13.97 billion, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) are $107 million. These three items are equal to 25 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. (Idaho ranks 14th.)
  • Budget solvency measures whether a state can cover its fiscal year spending using current revenues. Did it run a shortfall during the year? (Idaho ranks 6th.)
  • 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? (Idaho ranks 9th.)
  • 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? (Idaho ranks 33rd.)
  • 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? (Idaho ranks 16th.)

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