New York’s total state debt of $300 billion is second only to that of California, which has $617.6 billion in debt, according to a report released today by State Budget Solutions, a nonprofit that advocates for state-budget reform. New York had the third highest debt in last year’s report, the organization said.
The aggregated debt across the country, which includes explicit debt and future spending obligations, is more than $4.19 trillion, State Budget Solutions found. Vermont has the lowest amount of debt among all states—$5.8 billion.
“These budget numbers should serve as a wake up call for every state legislature around the country. Our states are in trouble and no amount of budget gimmicks, political posturing or hiding bills will fix the massive debt that they face,” Bob Williams, president of State Budget Solutions, said in a statement. “There is no option for status quo or incremental adjustments. Drastic reforms, innovations and political courage are needed to put our states back on the road to fiscal survival.”
The report said aggregated state debt is down slightly compared to last year, when it was $4.24 trillion. Reasons include reductions in unemployment trust fund loans and total budget gaps. The group calculated states’ debt using each state’s regular debt, budget gap for the 2013 fiscal year, outstanding unemployment trust fund loans, other post-employment benefit liabilities that are unfunded, and the state’s unfunded pension liability. More than half of all state debt—$2.8 trillion—is composed of market-valued unfunded public-pension liabilities.