Politics & Government

Alaska Gets An "A" For Its State Finances

Alaska has a Taxpayer Surplus of $77,400

(David Mark)

A new report on the financial condition of the 50 states ranked Alaska no. 1 in the nation prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The report found that the majority of the states were ill-prepared for any crisis, but Alaska had some money set aside to help them weather the crisis.

The analysis by Truth in Accounting, a non-profit government finance watchdog group, found Alaska had $36.8 billion in assets available to pay future bills. This surplus equates $77,400 for each state taxpayer.

Alaska was one of the 11 states that had a Taxpayer Surplus? at the end of the fiscal year (FY) 2019, which is a calculation of the state's available assets divided by the number of taxpayers. While a sizable Taxpayer Surplus is a strong sign of fiscal responsibility, Alaska has room for improvement. Even the healthiest states are projected to lose billions of dollars in revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the watchdog's eleventh annual Financial State of the States report, Alaska had $15.8 billion in bills and $36.8 billion in available assets to pay those bills after capital and restricted assets are excluded. This resulted in a $21 billion surplus, or a $77,400 Taxpayer Surplus, which is each taxpayer's share of the state surplus after bills have been paid. TIA's Taxpayer Surplus indicator incorporates both assets and liabilities, including unfunded retirement obligations.

Before COVID-19, Alaska hypothetically could write a check for $77,400 to each of its taxpayers after paying all of its bills, which is why it received an "A" grade for its fiscal health.

You can read the full report here and Alaska's individual report here.

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