BISMARCK, ND – A new report from State Budget Solutions says North Dakota ranks second in the nation behind only Vermont in a measure of state deficits, but the high ranking is due more to the state’s explosive economic growth than a low level of debt.
In debt per capita, North Dakota ranks 47th in the nation with $3,181 in debt and liabilities per citizen. Only New Jersey, Hawaii and Connecticut had more debt and liabilities per citizen. According to the report, the state also faces over $4.2 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
But in other areas the state’s economic health is a clear advantage. Thanks to steadily increasing tax revenues, North Dakota is one of only 4 states in the study with no budget gap for 2011. The state also has no debt obligations for unemployment funds, something many states have accumulated thanks to high levels of joblessness and stagnant economies.
Overall the state has over $6.2 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities from pensions, which wins it second place in a ranking of all states.
According to numbers from the conservative North Dakota Policy Council, North Dakota’s budget has grown 125% since the 2003 – 2005 biennium.