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Kentucky ranked 47th in fiscal health

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September 5, 2012

Kentucky

By George Sousouris

Lexington, KENTUCKY: A report released by Barron's, a national financial magazine, ranked Kentucky 47th in the U.S. in terms of overall fiscal health. The state ranks above only Hawaii, Illinois, and Connecticut, and remained a far cry from top states like South Dakota, Iowa, and Tennessee.[1]

Reasons for the low rankings are varied, but in the case of Kentucky, it is primarily due to growing unfunded liabilities in the state's pension plan. Other important metrics used in creating the list were debt to GDP ratio and bond ratings, and here too, Kentucky did not fare so well. With a debt to GDP ratio of 5.4%, the state ranked higher than all but four other states. According to the magazine's calculations, the total unfunded pension liability of the states stands at $401 billion, of which $30 billion belongs to Kentucky.[2]

President of the Senate David Williams (R) blamed the poor economy, stating "Our gross domestic product is not growing. The per capita income in our state is a lot lower than surrounding states." Unsurprisingly, he also attempted to blame Democrats, who currently control the House and the Governor's mansion, for their debt restructuring efforts in recent years.

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