When it comes to financial health, Hawaii ranks 45th.

At least we are ahead of Kentucky, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, which rank as the bottom five states, “largely owing to the low amounts of cash they have on hand and their large debt obligations,” according to a new report.

The survey, from Mercatus Center at George Mason Universityranks each state’s financial health based on short- and long-term debt “and other key fiscal obligations, such as unfunded pen­sions and healthcare benefits.”

Mercatus Center study of state fiscal solvency 2016

Mercatus Center concludes, “Updating the fiscal condition of the states with another year of data shows that most states’ fiscal performance remains relatively constant, but the signs of fiscal stress persist. Underfunded pen­sions and healthcare benefits continue to put pressure on state finances. Even states that appear to be fis­cally robust—perhaps owing to large amounts of cash on hand or revenue streams from natu­ral resources — must take stock of their long-term fiscal health before making future public policy deci­sions.”

Alaska, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota rank in the top five states for fiscal solvency.

Here’s what the report says about Hawaii.

The center’s board includes Charles Koch of Koch Industries, Inc., and Edwin Meese, attorney general in the Reagan administration. So, take that into consideration.

There is no question, however, that unfunded liabilities are a concern to Hawaii. Read Civil Beat’s series Pension Promises.

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