Any of you who think the state is living beyond its means won’t be surprised by this, but in a Pew Research study, New Jersey was determined to be the absolute worst when it comes to state revenues matching state spending. The data covers the last 15 years and measures if a state’s financial intake covered their expenses and only ten states ran a deficit, with New Jersey being the worst, with revenues accounting for only 91.3% of expenses; the national median was 102.1%.

The time frame covers two economic recoveries and the Great Recession. New Jersey is one of the ten states that “…carried forward deferred costs of past services, including debt and unfunded public employee retirement liabilities, which could constrain their future fiscal options.” New Jersey and Illinois were the only two states that operated at a deficit in all 15 years studied and that had deficits that were more than 5% of total expenses.

For this study, revenue is attributed to the year it was earned regardless of when it was received and expenses to the year incurred even if deferred or only partially paid. So, the Garden State is not bringing in enough to pay what we owe, yet the budget keeps getting bigger; the only way to keep operating is to defer payments or go further into debt. I will end now as we all shake our heads. The study can be found here.

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