One of the best jobs for managing money is being governor of a state. So, let’s take a look at the 50 states and see which ones have the best governors for managing money.
A new report from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center ranks all 50 states based on 14 measures designed to determine whether states can pay their short-term bills and meet their long-term obligations — debt, pension liabilities and such. The data go through 2013.
The best-run states have enough cash to pay its current bills, enough revenue coming in to meet its fiscal year needs, a cushion for economic shocks, and management long-term liabilities.
The worst states, in contrast, have “tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities — constituting a significant risk to taxpayers in both the short and the long term.”
[…]There’s only one factor these fiscal winners and losers share in common. And that’s their political leanings. Of the top 10 states in the Mercatus ranking, just two — Florida and Ohio — voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in the past four elections, and just one — Montana — has a Democratic governor. Even if you look at the 25 best-performing states, only three could be considered reliably liberal.
At the other end of the list, just two of the 10 lowest-ranked states — Kentucky and West Virginia — have voted for the Republican in the past four presidential elections. And while four of them have Republican governors, they all are in solid blue states and all were elected to clean up messes left by their Democratic predecessors.
It’s also worth noting that these same states consistently show up at the top and bottom of other lists that measure business friendliness, tax burden and economic freedom.
In fact, six of the 10 worst-performing states in the Mercatus ranking — California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut — are also states with the heaviest tax burdens and rated the least business friendly, according to rankings from the Tax Foundation and Chief Executive magazine.
It would appear, then, that abiding by a philosophy of limited government, lower taxes and fewer regulations leads to growth, prosperity and fiscal soundness.
Here’s the full map from the George Mason University study:
At the state-level, everyone understands that Republican governors know what they are doing, because they understand economics. So then why do we forget that and elect a community organizer when it comes to the Presidency? Do we just not care about the debts we are piling onto our children when we elect wastrels and profligates?