A newly released report claims Wisconsin is one of the ten most fiscally troubled states in the nation, but a top state official disputes that finding.
California’s financial problems are in a league of their own. But the report says the same pressures that drove the Golden State toward fiscal disaster are wreaking havoc in a number of states, with potentially damaging consequences for the entire country.
According to the Pew Center on the States, Wisconsin’s tenuous position shares much in common with that of California, the state which has become the poster child for potential economic disaster. “In no way can Wisconsin be compared to the nation’s most financially troubled states, especially California,” said Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary Michael Morgan, calling the Pew report “factually inaccurate” and “fundamentally flawed.”
Researchers identified a number of factors which have driven California to the edge of crisis, and then scored the other states based on the degree to which they face the same set of problems.
Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island and join California and Wisconsin as the ten most fiscally challenged. The reports says the states share a history of persistent budget shortfalls with expenditures outpacing revenues, a situation which has been exacerbated by the economic downturn and resulting decreases in state revenues.
“It is not true that the recession has hit Wisconsin harder than other states. While we have taken hits like everyone else, Wisconsin has fared much better than other states and manufacturing is doing better in Wisconsin compared to our neighboring states,” said Morgan, noting that the state’s unemployment rate has improved recently and is more than two percentage points below the national average of 10.2 percent.
The report, entitled Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril, scored all 50 states using the best available data as of July 31st of this year.