Each Connecticut taxpayer would need to write a check for $41,200 to pay off the state’s debts, prompting the Institute for Truth in Accounting to name the state a “sinkhole.”
Connecticut’s per taxpayer burden is 73 percent higher than Kentucky’s, another sinkhole state. Its taxpayer burden is larger than the combined burden of the 17 states with smallest burden.
According to the institute, Connecticut has $29.4 billion worth of assets, but only $10.1 billion are available to pay $63.4 billion of bills.
“State officials say their budgets are balanced but do not include employee pension and healthcare obligations in their calculations,” said Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of the Institute. “Unlike the federal government, states can’t ‘print money’ to cover costs and shore up their financial conditions.”
The institute, based outside of Chicago, released a report earlier this month on state finances that puts Connecticut dead last with the highest taxpayer burden.
The other sinkhole states are New Jersey with a $34,600 taxpayer burden, Illinois ($26,800), Hawaii ($25,000) and Kentucky ($23,800).
The four best-performing or “sunshine” states, according to the institute, are Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. These four states have more than enough assets to cover their liabilities, resulting in a per taxpayer surplus.
The institute found $823.7 billion in retirement system liabilities that are not reported on state balance sheets.
“The opaqueness of retirement plans’ disclosures makes it impossible for even seasoned Certified Public Accountants to determine with certainty the true amount of these unfunded liabilities,” the report said.