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MO: Show Me State debt nearly $30K per private sector worker

By   /   October 3, 2012  /   News  /   No Comments

How many Missouri state flags could you buy with $65.8 billion?

By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog

ST. LOUIS – Got 300 Benjamins stuck in your couch cushions? If so, you could help pay your share of Missouri’s debt.

The average state debt is $29,377 per private worker in the Show Me State, according to a recent analysis by State Budget Solutions.

Factor in all of Missouri’s 6 million residents into the equation and the debt per capita is $10.946.

The third annual report from this nonpartisan project of the Sunshine Review found state governments are facing more than $4 trillion of debt.

The debts include such things as budget gaps and outstanding bonds, but the most crushing issues are unfunded pension liabilities. In Missouri, for example, retirement benefits for public workers make up $56.8 billion of the $65.8 billion total debt the group calculated for the state.

The study noted that Missouri’s 2.23 million private-sector workers are at increased risk because they are the ultimate tax base for reducing the state’s debt.

“Those numbers illustrate that, without serious and immediate reforms, lawmakers will eventually have little choice but to drastically raise taxes and slash services,” wrote Cory Eucalitto, a research analyst at SBS. “This updated report examines state debt as it relates to the individuals and families who will ultimately bear that burden.”

Missouri, which ranks 31st, has it much better than most other states.

The national average for debt per capita is $13,425. Alaska has the highest rate at $31,141 per person, while Nebraska has the lowest at $4,249.

California has the highest total debt with $617 billion, followed by New York ($300 billion) and Texas ($287 billion.)

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Johnny Kampis is National Watchdog Reporter for Watchdog.org. Johnny previously worked in the newspaper industry and as a freelance writer, and has been published in The New York Times, Time.com, FoxNews.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A former semi-professional poker player, he is writing a book documenting the poker scene at the 2016 World Series of Poker, a decade after the peak of the poker boom. Johnny is also a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors.