Report: Tennessee ranks as top 5 state financially

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(The Center Square) – Tennessee’s financial condition continued to improve compared to other states in 2022 as it was ranked as having the fifth-best financial condition in the country in a new report.

Financial watchdog Truth in Accounting categorized Tennessee as a Sunshine State, meaning it’s in the top five, in its 14th annual Financial State of the States report, an analysis of the fiscal health of all 50 states based on the latest available data.

Tennessee was found to have $9,500 in surplus per resident, behind Alaska ($80,000), North Dakota ($47,400), Wyoming ($24,600) and Utah ($12,700).

New Jersey (minus-$53,600) is at the bottom of the rankings as a Sinkhole State, along with Connecticut (minus-$50,700), Illinois (minus-$41,600), Massachusetts (minus-$26,700) and Hawaii (minus-$23,100).

Truth in Accounting found that overall debt for the 50 states is $938.6 billion, down from $1.2 trillion at the end of fiscal year 2021.

“We are happy to see state debt decreasing but states should not count on temporary federal funding and increased tax collections to fix their long-term problems,” said Sheila Weinberg, founder & CEO of Truth in Accounting. “Elected officials need to include the true costs of government in their budget calculations, including accruing retirement benefits so that they can make real progress towards a healthier financial future.”

Tennessee was given a “B” financial grade with $20.9 billion available to pay bills.

“Even though Tennessee was in good fiscal health at the end of its 2022 fiscal year, uncertainty surrounding the full economic recovery post-COVID makes it impossible to determine how much will be needed to maintain government services and benefits in the coming years,” the report said. “With such uncertainty, it is good that the state retains funds available to pay bills.”

Tennessee finished last fiscal year $252 million below its revised budget for tax collections and started this fiscal year $39.4 million below estimated tax collections after several years of consistently beating those projections.

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