Wednesday, 20 October 2010

State of Debt

The LAO reports on the $15 billion and climbing shortfall in the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.  The entire shortfall has accumulated since January 2009, and hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments will soon become due.

In other cheery news, the Treasurer’s Debt Affordability Report was released detailing the $89 billion in current taxpayer-backed debt with an additional $50 billion authorized but unissued to date.  The report also details "Yields on the State’s 30-year tax-exempt GO bonds ranged from a low of 4.82 percent to a high of 6.10 percent. Compared to AAA-rated tax-exempt GO interest rates, these translate to spreads of 87 to 172 basis points.“  That means the state is paying about an extra 1% on its debt due to its lousy credit rating.  That’s a lot of extra interest, that could be used for other purposes.  The report also details the state’s debt burden is the 2nd highest in the country after New York.

Not to be outdone by their state government, California’s households have proven themselves to be pretty adept at loading on their own debt.  The state may have the 2nd highest debt burden in the country (for now), but our private households have the highest per capita debt burden in the U.S. according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, $80,000 per capita compared to the U.S. average of about $50,000.(see page 18).


About the Author

Ethan Jacob

Author & Editor

I am Ethan Jacob Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, where I have a joint faculty appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business and the Public Policy Program in the McGeorge School of Law..


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