What’s Your Share of Illinois’ Debt?
Judging by the photo of the person being crushed by a credit card (no actual people were harmed by a giant card), you might be guessing that your share of our state's outstanding debt is pretty high...and you would be right.
The organization "Truth in Accounting" recently released a report on the "Financial State of States," and it doesn't really paint a pretty picture of Illinois. According to analysis by Reboot Illinois:
Out of all 50 states, Illinois has the third-highest per-taxpayer debt, behind New Jersey's $59,400 and Connecticut's $49,000, earning it the moniker of one of the nation's Top 5 "Sinkhole States." Truth in Accounting’s annual “Financial State of States” shows Illinois ended fiscal year 2015 with a total of $212.8 billion in unpaid bills, including $116.8 billion in unfunded pension benefits and $44.3 billion in retiree health care costs.
So, to bottom-line things for you, if the State of Illinois woke up tomorrow morning wanting to pay off all of its bills, every single taxpayer in the state would have to pony up...wait for it...$45,500.
$45,500 — a measure the group calls “taxpayer burden,” or each taxpayer’s share of total state debt after available assets have been tapped. While Illinois had $74 billion in assets, only $25.9 billion was available after restricted and capital assets were excluded. The resulting net shortfall totaled $186.9 billion, which was then divided by 4.1 million — the combined number individual and corporate tax returns filed in 2015.
Maybe some perspective will make us feel better. How much would the folks in neighboring states have to come up with to pay off their state's bills? Here are the numbers on per-taxpayer debt around us:
Okay, so maybe some perspective will actually make us feel worse.