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South Dakota Ranks Third in Fiscal Health

South Dakota is ranked third in the nation for fiscal health for the 2013 fiscal year. That's according to a study from George Mason University. In the rankings released this week, South Dakota is found to have one of the lowest debt levels in the country.

State rankings are determined by factors such as ability to pay for short and long term expenses, pension and health care liabilities and debt level. South Dakota ranks third in the national fiscal health lineup.

Eileen Norcross is the Senior Research Fellow for the Mercatus Center at George Mason and the study’s author. She says this list should be a wakeup call . . . especially for states at the bottom of the list.

Norcross says, “And these are states that have issued debt over a period of years to cover those payments to the pension system or they’ve issued debt on top of debt. That tends to be a commonality in those states. Those bills are coming due now. Even in the top performing states I’d caution that states have to take a closer look at the size of those unfunded pension liabilities and make sure that they’re not pushing them off into the future, that they’re making those payments today, so they don’t end up with a deeply underfunded system tomorrow.”

South Dakota is ranked in the top five with Alaska, North Dakota, Nebraska and Florida. Illinois is at the bottom of the list.