Map of USA with North Dakota highlighted

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year 24/7 Wall St. analyzes various data from each state and then ranks them in order based on that data. The result is a list of all 50 of the “best” run and “worst” run states. I’m going to be taking a closer look at their study later on today and publishing it tonight at 7PM if you care to come back then. But for now let’s take a quick look at just three states: North Dakota (#1), California (#50), and Colorado – where I live – at #29.

First of all, the authors admit that measuring how well a state is run is a difficult task:

The successful management of a state is difficult to measure. Factors that  affect its finances and population may be the result of decisions made years  ago. A state’s difficulties can be caused by poor governance or by external  factors, such as extreme weather.

Put another way, nature may have blessed a state with an abundance of natural resources that other states don’t share. And a state may have suffered an abundance of stupidity inflicted on that state by politicians long dead and thankfully forgotten (if not forgiven). Nevertheless, the effort to rank them is worthwhile:

Despite this, it is the responsibility of each state to deal with the resources  at its disposal. Each government must anticipate economic shifts and diversify its industries and attract new business. A state should be able to raise enough revenue to ensure the safety of its citizens and minimize hardship without spending more than it can prudently afford. Some states have historically done this much better than others.

To determine how well the states are run, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed hundreds of  data sets from dozens of sources. We looked at each state’s debt, revenue,  expenditure and to determine how well it is managed fiscally. We reviewed taxes, exports, and  GDP growth, including a breakdown by sector, to identify how each state is managing its resources. We looked at poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, violent crime and foreclosure rates to measure if residents are  prospering.

The best-run states have certain characteristics in common, as do the worst run.  The high-ranking states all have well-managed budgets. Each of the top ten has a perfect, or near-perfect, credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, or  both. Of the ten worst-ranked, only three received top scores from one agency, and none from both. California is currently the only state rated A- by S&P,  the lowest score given to any state. These poorly ranked states have high debt  relative to both income and expenditure.

You can already see what’s coming: North Dakota is not only enjoying being blessed with abundant (but until only recently effectively exploited) resources but also with elected officials who haven’t been infected with excessive hubris or a “sense of history” or, worse yet, the ideology of egalitarianism by force that is flushing California down the proverbial drain.

For the first time, North Dakota ranks as the best run state in the country. In  recent years, North Dakota’s oil boom has transformed its economy. Last year, crude oil production rose 35%. As of August, 2012, it was the second-largest oil producer in the country. This was due to the use of hydraulic fracturing in the  state’s Bakken shale formation. The oil and gas boom brought jobs to North  Dakota, which had the nation’s lowest rate in 2011 at 3.5%, and economic  growth.  Between 2010 and 2011, North Dakota’s GDP jumped 7.6%, by far the largest  increase in the nation. This has also increased home values, which rose a  nation-leading 29% between 2006 and 2011. North Dakota and Montana are the only  two states that have not reported a budget shortfall since fiscal 2009.

Unfortunately that’s all the report has to say about North Dakota. If you want more, watch for my longer article due out tonight.

Here’s what it says about California:

California is 24/7 Wall St.’s “Worst Run State” for the second year in a row.  Due to high levels of debt, the state’s S&P credit rating is the worst of  all states, while its Moody’s credit rating is the second-worst. Much of  California’s fiscal woes involve the economic downturn. Home prices plunged by  33.6% between 2006 and 2011, worse than all states except for three. The state’s  foreclosure rate and rate were the third- and second-highest in the  country, respectively. But efforts to get finances on track are moving forward. State voters passed a ballot initiative to raise sales taxes as well as income  taxes for people who make at least $250,000 a year. While median income is the  10th-highest in the country, the state also has one of the highest tax burdens on income. According to the Tax Foundation, the state also has the third-worst business tax climate in the country.

And here’s what it says about Colorado:

Colorado’s finances were not well-managed in recent years. In fiscal 2010, the state’s ratio of debt-to-revenues and the percentage of liabilities funded were worse than most states. Few states spent less of their fiscal 2010  budget on public welfare than Colorado’s 18.4%. In fiscal 2011, the state’s  budget shortfall equaled one-quarter of its budget, among the nation’s higher rates. Still, according to Governor John Hickenlooper, “The overwhelming  approval of Colorado’s most recent budget indicates the state is a place where  people get work done, and they get it done collaboratively and pragmatically.”  Colorado’s faces several major challenges. Homeowners are struggling —  the state had one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates — and the state was one of the nation’s weakest exporters, at just $1,433 in exports per capita.

For the moment I’ll resist adding anything further, although I think you can see where I’ll be going with this.

Opt In Image
Soak Up More Light from the Right
with a free copy of Bob's most popular eBook!

Sign up to to receive Bob's explosive articles in your inbox every week, and as a thank you we'll send a copy of his most popular eBook - completely free of charge!

How can you help stop the Democrat's latest gun grab? How is the Federal Reserve deceiving America today? What is the latest Obama administration coverup? Sign up for the Light from the Right email newsletter and help stop the progressives' takeover of America!