July 11, 2017

#22 | Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition: Georgia

Summary

On the basis of its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, Georgia ranks 22nd in the US states for its fiscal health. On a short-run basis, Georgia has between 1.86 and 2.96 times the cash needed to cover short-term obligations. Revenues exceed expenses by 5 percent, and net position improved by $209 per capita in FY 2015. On a long-run basis, Georgia’s fiscal position is better than the US average in all categories. Georgia has a negative net asset ratio of 0.06, and its long-term liabilities are 48 percent of total assets. Unfunded pension liabilities, on a guaranteed-to-be paid basis, are $114.82 billion, or 28 percent of state personal income, and OPEB is 4 percent of state personal income. 

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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. (Georgia ranks 22nd.)
  • Budget solvency measures whether a state can cover its fiscal year spending using current revenues. Did it run a shortfall during the year? (Georgia ranks 26th.)
  • 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? (Georgia ranks 29th.)
  • 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? (Georgia ranks 15th.)
  • Trust fund solvency measures how much debt a state has. How large are unfunded pension liabilities and OPEB liabilities compared to the state personal income? (Georgia ranks 17th.)

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

To read all our work on Georgia, go to mercatus.org/states/georgia.