If you're thinking of exiting the pitiful state of Illinois these days, you may want to head for North Dakota, Wyoming or Nebraska because they're the three best-run states in America.
Yahoo's 24/7 Wall Street evaluated data concerning all 50 states' budget, their credit rating, their unemployment and their education levels. Here's what they found about North Dakota, the nation's best run state:
For the first time, North Dakota ranks as the best run state in the country. In recent years, North Dakota’s oil boom has transformed its economy. Last year, crude oil production rose 35%. As of August, 2012, it was the second-largest oil producer in the country. This was due to the use of hydraulic fracturing in the state’s Bakken shale formation. The oil and gas boom brought jobs to North Dakota, which had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate in 2011 at 3.5%, and economic growth. Between 2010 and 2011, North Dakota’s GDP jumped 7.6%, by far the largest increase in the nation. This growth has also increased home values, which rose a nation-leading 29% between 2006 and 2011. North Dakota and Montana are the only two states that have not reported a budget shortfall since fiscal 2009.
So, the obvious question. Where did the Land of Lincoln rank? It may be a slight comfort that Illinois did not rank the worst-run state in the nation, nor the second worst-run state. Indeed, 24/7 Wall Street ranked Illinois as slightly better than California and Rhode Island, but worse than 47 others. Illinois is #48, or the third worst in the nation:
> Debt per capita: $4,790 (11th highest)
> Budget deficit: 40.2% (2nd largest)
> Unemployment: 9.8% (tied-10th highest)
> Median household income: $53,234 (18th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 15.0% (25th highest)
Although many states have budget issues, Illinois’ faces among the biggest problems. In 2010, the state’s budget shortfall was more than 40% of its general fund, the second-highest of any state. Both S&P and Moody’s gave Illinois credit ratings that were the second-worst of all states. In addition, the state only funded 45% of its pension liability in 2010, the lowest percentage of any state. Governor Patrick Quinn has made the now-$85 billion pension gap a top priority for the new legislative session beginning in January.
Illinois' not the worst, it's just near the worst.