Citizens living in California, Illinois, Michigan, and New York, are living under some of the most brutal restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic of anywhere in the United States. The one thing these states have in common is that Democrat governors are almost exclusively running them. Another thing they in common is that they spend a great deal of time blaming President Trump for the economic fallout related to their decision to keep their economies in lockdown.
Some may say it isn’t fair to blame the Democrat governors for the economic collapse in their states related to the COVID pandemic. Fair enough—let’s take COVID out of the equation. When it comes to handling the economy in their states, how well do these Democrat governors fare? As it turns out, not very well.
A new study published by Investors.com shows that even in “normal” times, states that are run by Democrats don’t do a very good job of handling their finances. The ten most financially sound states in the country are all heavily Republican, while all but one of the ten worst states are heavily Democratic. That’s according to a ranking of states in a new report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
The report — “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition” — used official government data to measure the states’ ability to pay short-term bills and meet longer-term obligations, such as public pensions or health care costs, using five separate measures.
Cash solvency, for example, measures a state’s ability to pay its immediate bills. Budget solvency measures whether states will end the year with a surplus or deficit. Long-run solvency looks at a state’s ability to meet long-term spending commitments. Service-level solvency measures a state’s ability to respond to a demand for increased spending. And trust fund solvency measures unfunded pension liabilities and state debt.
States can do well on some measures and poorly on others. Alaska, for example, ranks at the top for cash, budget and long-run solvency, but near the bottom on the other two measures. Ohio ranks fifth in cash solvency, but 48th on trust fund solvency. This year’s report includes Puerto Rico, which scored dead last on every measure.
The report also provides an overall ranking of the states. And while Mercatus makes no mention of the states’ political leanings, every state in the top 10 except for Florida is solidly red, meaning those states voted for the Republican in each of the past four presidential elections (see table). And Florida has had a Republican governor since 1999, and the state House and Senate are both controlled by Republicans.
At the other end of the spectrum, except for Kentucky, the 10 worst states are all solidly blue. And all but two of the governors since 1947 have been Democrats.
Governors in the state of Kentucky have flip-flopped back and forth between Republican and Democrat for decades. The current governor, Andy Beshear is a Democrat, who was elected to run the state in 2019. Before Governor Andy Beshear, was a one-term Republican governor, Matt Bevin, and before Bevin, Andy’s father, Steve Beshear was the Democrat governor of Kentucky for two-terms.
You can find the Mercatus report here.