Texas voter turnout

Texas' voter turnout

This election looks different than in previous years. Voter turnout is on course to be an all-time high. A week before the election Texas had already surpassed its 2016 voter turnout. The state has also seen a 12 percent increase in registered voters since the 2016 election. Texas saw a low voter turnout in 2016 with only 54 percent of Texans voting. Texas has the second-most electoral votes at 38


Texas was not alone in its low voter turnout. Only two states had more than 70 percent of registered voters vote. Those states were Maine and Wisconsin with 72.7 percent and 70.5 percent respectively.  READ MORE

Alaska earned first place in our 2020 Financial State of the State report

Alaska has earned first place in our 2020 Financial State of the State report for the 10th year in a row. After paying all their bills Alaska had $21 billion left over for future bills, which is divided out to $77,000 per Alaskan taxpayer.

Alaska’s pensions are only 67.5 percent funded with  $4.8 billion in unfunded benefits. But Alaska has fully funded its retiree health care benefits.

We have estimated that Alaska will lose $3 billion due to COVID-19, but the state is seemingly well prepared for this economic loss.  READ MORE

New Jersey ended fiscal year 2019 with $189 billion of debt.

New Jersey ended fiscal year 2019 with $189 billion of debt, meaning each New Jersey taxpayer would need to pay $57,900 to pay off the state’s debt. New Jersey has only set 37 cents for every dollar promised in pension benefits. This has resulted in the state owing $95.7 billion for its promised pensions. They have not set aside any money for retiree health care benefits, meaning future taxpayers are on the hook for $76.8 billion owed for retiree health care. 

2020 marks the seventh consecutive year that New Jersey has earned the last place in our Financial State of the States. Where did your state rank? You can view the full report here.  READ MORE

New York Students Chart

​New York spent $24,040  on each of its 2.7 million students in 2019. This has more than doubled since 1999. New York has seen a large decrease in the number of students in public schools, with about 170,000 fewer students than in 1999. New York has the fourth-highest amount of students in public schools behind California, Texas, and Florida, which are the states with the largest population. There are 12 students for every teacher in New York state, which is below the 50-state average of 15.  READ MORE

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Illinois pensions are underfunded

Illinois has the largest unfunded pensions in the United States. In 2018, Illinois owed $139.7 billion in unfunded pensions. That is 746 percent more than the 50-state average. The state has only set aside 39 cents for every dollar that was promised in benefits. Illinois unfunded pensions make up the largest portion of the state’s overall $222.3 billion debt


In 2019, Illinois unfunded pension debt grew to $144 billion and the overall debt grew $4 billion to $226 billion.  READ MORE

Chicago's 2019 debt

Chicago’s financial position worsened by $2 billion in the 2019 Fiscal Year

Chicago’s financial position worsened by $2 billion in the 2019 Fiscal Year. The city needs $36.4 billion to pay off its debt. A large portion of this unfunded debt is in unfunded pension and retiree health care. Chicago owes $31.8 billion in unfunded pension debt and $829 million in unfunded retiree health care benefits.  
To pay off the city’s $36.4 debt each Chicago taxpayer would need to pay $39,400. This worsened by $2,300 from the previous fiscal year.  READ MORE

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Chicago's debt

With the help of the money from the federal government, Chicago city council passed Mayor Lightfoot’s coronavirus relief money. The Federal government gave Chicago $1.1 billion to help pay for COVID-19 related expenses, including the tax revenue the city is losing due to closures. Unfortunately $1.1 billion is not going to put a dent in the city’s $34.4 billion total debt. Each Chicago taxpayer would need to pay $34,100 to pay off the city’s debt.   READ MORE

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Police expenditures in America

California, a state that is $275 billion in debt, spent $1.9 billion on police expenditures, which is over five times the 50-state average. In 2016, Santa Ana police cost their city $6.8 million to settle two wrongful death suits. 

Out of the 50 state, New Jersey has the most police officers with 36 police officers per 10,000 people, but the state has the sixth least amount of violent crimes per 100,000. At 1.6 percent, Vermont spends the highest percentage on police protection but has the second-fewest violent crimes per 100,000 residents.  READ MORE

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States with the highest graduation rates

While graduation looks different this year, that doesn’t diminish the achievements the class of 2020 have made throughout their schooling. 

In 2017, Vermont had the highest rate of students graduating in six years at 64.8 percent, followed by Rhode Island and Massachusetts with 64.2 percent and 63.2 percent respectively. The state with the smallest percentage of students graduating in six years is Alaska with 32.5 percent.

Iowa and New Jersey are the only states with a high school graduation rate over 90 percent. Iowa has the highest high school graduation rate with 91 percent of students receiving a diploma. New Jersey is close behind with a 90.5 percent high school graduation rate. New Mexico has the smallest percentage of graduates with only 71.1 percent making it across the stage on graduation day.    READ MORE

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Illinois finances continued to decline

In the fiscal year 2019, Illinois’ financial position worsened by $2.1 billion. The state finances have been on a steady decline since 2009. Currently, Illinois is $226 billion in debt. Since 2009, Illinois’ financial position has worsened by 88 percent. 

The state has been fiscally mismanaged for many years. Gov. Pritzker claims the budget is balanced, but he is not including unfunded pensions and retiree health care benefits. The largest portion of Illinois debt is the combined $200.3 billion the state owes in pensions and retiree health care benefits. Illinois pensions are only 38 percent funded while no money has been set aside to fund retiree health care benefits.  READ MORE

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