Hooray! Virginia Marginally Less Debt-Ridden than Other States

Virginia state and local governments increased their indebtedness by almost $400 per capita — up 6% –in FY 2008 compared to the year before. But the commonwealth’s ranking among the 50 states slipped only one notch, to 28th most debt-ridden state in the union, because state and local governments nationally borrowed more as well, piling on 5.8% more debt.

According to data collected by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and published in its annual “Virginia Compared to the Other States,” per capita indebtedness breaks down like this:

State….. $2,806
Local….. $4,211
Total….. $7,017

A morcel of consolation: Because Virginia had the 7th highest per capita personal income in the country in 2009, the state would compare much more favorably in a ranking of per capita debt as a percentage of income. In other words, although we carry a moderately high level of debt, the debt burden is somewhat less onerous because we have higher incomes with which to pay our obligations. But JLARC did not calculate those numbers so I can’t show them to you.

For purposes of comparison, state/local indebtedness pales in comparison to that of the federal government, which amounts to $46,000 for every man, woman and child in the country and is increasing at an annual rate of about 10%.

(Click on map for more legible image.)

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