State taxpayers and employees have more to worry about than the windfall-driven spending spree cited by Stephen Moore (“Christmas Comes Early for State Budgets,” op-ed, July 6). State officials go on these spending sprees because they claim they have a surplus. These surpluses just represent the fact that the state has collected more money than it spent in a given period; it does not necessarily mean states have cash sitting around just waiting to be spent.
In fact, Truth in Accounting’s analysis of state assets and liabilities shows only six states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming and Alaska) have enough assets to pay their bills, including promises for pensions and retirement health care. Before states start spending their fictitious surpluses, shouldn’t they pay the bills they already owe and pay down their unfunded pension liabilities so they can keep the promises they have already made?