Despite 2-spot drop, Minnesota retains ‘B’ in financial health ranking

Minnesota ranks 13th in Truth in Accounting’s latest Financial State of the States report.

TIA examined states’ latest annual financial and retirement plan report and gave each state a grade plus a price tag for what it would cost each state to pay off its bills. TIA’s calculations excluded restricted or capital assets.

Thirty-one states didn’t have the money to pay their bills, based on their fiscal year 2021 reports.

“This means that to balance the budget — as is required by law in 49 states — elected officials have not included the true costs of the government in their budget calculations and have pushed costs onto future taxpayers,” the report said.

However, the North Star State had $32.6 billion available to pay $27.6 billion worth of bills, the report said. The $4.9 billion surplus breaks down to $2,400 per taxpayer. The report said Minnesota saw improvements in its fiscal condition mostly because federal grants increased by $7 billion and pension assets improved by 30%.

Since Minnesota had a surplus between $100 and $10,000 per taxpayer, it was among 16 states to receive a “B” for its finances. Three states received A’s, 11 received C’s, 14 received D’s and six received failing grades.

Minnesota was among 21 states that were timely in filing their 2021 annual financial report, according to Government Finance Officers Association’s standard of 180 days after the end of the fiscal year. Minnesota published it 170 days after the fiscal year closed, which was nearly two months before the national average filing date. Arizona and California haven’t submitted the report.

In the 2022 report, North Dakota ranked second, South Dakota ranked fifth and Nebraska ranked sixth. Iowa placed 11th and Wisconsin was 22nd. Illinois was the lowest ranking Midwestern state, at 48th place.

The highest ranked state according to Truth in Accounting is Alaska, which has a $26.1 billion surplus. The lowest is New Jersey, which has been in the bottom five for the past three decades. New Jersey taxpayers would each need to pay $58,700 to wipe out the state’s non-capital debt.

Last year’s report assigned Minnesota a B. The state was 11th in that year’s ranking. Based on the North Star State’s 2020 audited financial report, Minnesota was one of 11 states with enough money to pay its bills, with a taxpayer surplus of $200.

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