Oklahoma Earns 'C,' Ranks 14th in State Finance Watchdog's Annual Report
Oklahoma improved on an annual report card for state finances.
Truth In Accounting grades are based on taxpayers’ share of the state’s debt. Last year, Oklahomans’ was $5,100.
"We give people a 'D' if your per taxpayer burden is more than $5,000, and now you guys have jumped up to $2,900, which is in our 'C' category," said Truth In Accounting founder and CEO Sheila Weinberg.
Truth In Accounting calculated Oklahoma has $10.1 billion in available assets but $13.3 billion in bills. The group factors pension and retiree health care liabilities into those figures, including amounts not yet on state balance sheets.
"The reason that we look at these numbers isn’t just a numbers game. We believe that citizens, to be full participants in their governments, really need to understand the true financial condition of their governments," Weinberg said.
Oklahoma’s unfunded debt declined around $2 billion from last year. Truth In Accounting ranked Oklahoma 14th out of the 50 states, with just 10 states getting an 'A' or 'B', meaning they have a surplus.
For comparison, the worst state this year was New Jersey, with a taxpayer burden of $61,400. The best state, Alaska, boasted a surplus of $56,500, according to Truth In Accounting's calculations.