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Best and Worst Run States in America — An Analysis Of All 50
Old 11-29-2011, 11:37 AM   #1
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Best and Worst Run States in America — An Analysis Of All 50

Stumbled on this as part of my research into relocating, thought it might be of interest to others. Top & bottom 3:

1) Wyoming
2) Nebraska
3) North Dakota

48) Michigan
49) Illinois
50) California

See other states for yourself Best and Worst Run States in America — An Analysis Of All 50 - 24/7 Wall St.
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Methodology
24/7 Wall St. considered data from a number of sources, including Standard & Poor’s, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tax Foundation, Realty Trac, The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Conference of State Legislators. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provided unemployment data, Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s provided credit ratings for all 50 states. The Tax Foundation provided state debt per capita for the fiscal year 2009. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report provided violent crime rates by state. Realty Trac provided foreclosure rates. A significant amount of the data we used came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Data from ACS included percentage below the poverty line, high school completion for those 25 and older, median household income, percentage of the population without health insurance and the change in occupied home values from 2006 to 2010. These are the values we used in our survey. Once we reviewed the sources and compiled the final metrics, we ranked each state based on its performance in all the categories.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:50 AM   #2
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Looks like the inverse of economy of scale: the higher the population, the less efficiency.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:53 AM   #3
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Interesting, but really no big surprises. New Mexico having the highest crime rate was somewhat surprising.
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:27 PM   #4
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I don't think the list accounts for some states just being lucky or unlucky. For example, is North Dakota actually well run, or is it just the lucky beneficiary of lots of money from the run-up in oil prices?

Likewise, is Michigan actually poorly run, or is it just dealing with its unlucky share of the collapse of the US auto industry? Michigan has a lot of problems, but I don't think of them as self-inflicted in the same way as Illinois, for example.
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:33 PM   #5
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I don't think the list accounts for some states just being lucky or unlucky. For example, is North Dakota actually well run, or is it just the lucky beneficiary of lots of money from the run-up in oil prices?

Likewise, is Michigan actually poorly run, or is it just dealing with its unlucky share of the collapse of the US auto industry? Michigan has a lot of problems, but I don't think of them as self-inflicted in the same way as Illinois, for example.
I live between MI and IL and it appears to be a toss up as to which is more poorly run. Both have loads of corruption, and both have had lots of job losses. IL is two states BTW, there's Chicago and the rest of IL, two very different worlds...
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:53 PM   #6
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I don't know what their scale is based on, but it appears flawed. NJ is a massively dysfunctional place that should be in the bottom 10. CO is a lot better than 4 notches above NJ, based on what I have seen in both states.
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:56 PM   #7
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California's problems definitely mirror our national difficulties. The policies of the major political parties are dominated by special interests and the party’s extreme factions. Thus, little-to-no common ground can be found to address the major issues until a crisis arises. Even then, the solution usually involves budgetary gimmicks and kicking the can down the road in hopes that the economy will perk up and fix everything.
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:58 PM   #8
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Likewise, is Michigan actually poorly run, or is it just dealing with its unlucky share of the collapse of the US auto industry?
I think it's both. Frankly I think any state and region that doesn't try to diversify its economy to not be overly dependent on one industry's continued flourishing is poorly managed. I remember how Houston cratered in the mid-1980s with over-dependence on the oil and gas markets when they crashed and oil dropped to $10 a barrel. After that, they diversified their economy and have been pretty stable. Same with Pittsburgh after heavy manufacturing and the steel industry were in decline; Pittsburgh reinvented itself enough to find life after the decline of the Rust Belt. Detroit in particular and Michigan in particular need to find a way to do the same, and learn from the experiences of places like Houston and Pittsburgh.

To the extent there's a "boom" in North Dakota because of the growing oil business there, what will happen to them if we have another oil glut that tanks the market? Will they be the next Houston from the mid 1980s??
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:50 AM   #9
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California's problems definitely mirror our national difficulties. The policies of the major political parties are dominated by special interests and the party’s extreme factions. Thus, little-to-no common ground can be found to address the major issues until a crisis arises. Even then, the solution usually involves budgetary gimmicks and kicking the can down the road in hopes that the economy will perk up and fix everything.
All true - coupled with an electorate that wants, even demands much more from their government than they are willing to pay for. CA residents demonstrated this in countless 'ballot propositions'...other states do the same thing, just less out in the open.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:07 AM   #10
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Hmmm - we are going to AZ - and yet the reason they dropped was because of their housing market - hello! Now is the time to buy---definitely. I find interesting how they define whether or not it is well run- a lot of those things they track are not necessarily due to governance. And, the population on this board would be in a very different place from the average citizen wrt some of those stats affecting them and their decision.

Or it could be that I have already succumbed to bias based on my decision ;-)
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:12 AM   #11
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Yup, that's my point. I don't think North Dakota is doing anything exceptional. They just happen to be holding a really good hand right now.

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To the extent there's a "boom" in North Dakota because of the growing oil business there, what will happen to them if we have another oil glut that tanks the market? Will they be the next Houston from the mid 1980s??
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:28 PM   #12
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Yup, that's my point. I don't think North Dakota is doing anything exceptional. They just happen to be holding a really good hand right now.
Yep, and they can't even provide housing for all the migrant workers living there.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:28 PM   #13
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All true - coupled with an electorate that wants, even demands much more from their government than they are willing to pay for. CA residents demonstrated this in countless 'ballot propositions'...other states do the same thing, just less out in the open.
Yes, I agree, and I mostly blame the politicians for this (even though they are selected by the electorate). This may be naive, but I still believe that their job is to lead and make the tough decisions, even if those decisions are unpopular. If they did their job, it wouldn't be necessary to have so many propositions, which are often misguided and corrupted by special interests.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:00 PM   #14
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Yes, I agree, and I mostly blame the politicians for this (even though they are selected by the electorate). This may be naive, but I still believe that their job is to lead and make the tough decisions, even if those decisions are unpopular. If they did their job, it wouldn't be necessary to have so many propositions, which are often misguided and corrupted by special interests.
I know when I was living in California, I was often critical of our elected "leaders" for unwillingness to lead. This was particularly true in issues related to tax increases. Rarely were they ever willing to go on record as supporting a tax increase, but they were always happy to "punt" and send it to the voters.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:10 PM   #15
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I really think California highlights the danger of drifting away from representative democracy towards direct democracy.

Putting everything to a referendum is not going to give you a good result.

We're learning that the hard way in Minnesota now.

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I know when I was living in California, I was often critical of our elected "leaders" for unwillingness to lead. This was particularly true in issues related to tax increases. Rarely were they ever willing to go on record as supporting a tax increase, but they were always happy to "punt" and send it to the voters.
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Old 12-01-2011, 02:37 PM   #16
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I know when I was living in California, I was often critical of our elected "leaders" for unwillingness to lead. This was particularly true in issues related to tax increases. Rarely were they ever willing to go on record as supporting a tax increase, but they were always happy to "punt" and send it to the voters.

Yes, and it's difficult to make a case for higher taxes when California already has one of the highest total tax burdens in the U.S. The net result is an endless succession propositions that attempt to tax "someone else" to pay for cherished programs and then restrict the government's ability cut these programs when warranted.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:09 PM   #17
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Yes, and it's difficult to make a case for higher taxes when California already has one of the highest total tax burdens in the U.S. The net result is an endless succession propositions that attempt to tax "someone else" to pay for cherished programs and then restrict the government's ability cut these programs when warranted.
Actually, even worse than that were the bond measures. That was allowing the voters to give themselves goodies today financed with debt their kids have to pay off. I remember the literature saying "voting yes will not raise your taxes" -- as if the magical money fairy was funding it all.

At least the direct tax increase votes were mostly pay-as-you-go, so those who want it today will have to pay for it today. That's more ethical and moral, IMO, than charging it and letting your kids pay for it.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:30 PM   #18
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Actually, even worse than that were the bond measures. That was allowing the voters to give themselves goodies today financed with debt their kids have to pay off. I remember the literature saying "voting yes will not raise your taxes" -- as if the magical money fairy was funding it all.

At least the direct tax increase votes were mostly pay-as-you-go, so those who want it today will have to pay for it today. That's more ethical and moral, IMO, than charging it and letting your kids pay for it.

I think it makes a difference in what the bonds are for.... IOW, if they are for waterworks/sewer and they charge a monthly fee to users... then taxes are not likely to increase.... if it is an airport where the landing fees etc. pay for the bonds... again, no tax increase....

But if it is for schools or roads etc. etc. then yes, there is a tax increase coming (or a reduction that should have been made that will now not happen)....
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:46 PM   #19
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Actually, even worse than that were the bond measures. That was allowing the voters to give themselves goodies today financed with debt their kids have to pay off. I remember the literature saying "voting yes will not raise your taxes" -- as if the magical money fairy was funding it all.

At least the direct tax increase votes were mostly pay-as-you-go, so those who want it today will have to pay for it today. That's more ethical and moral, IMO, than charging it and letting your kids pay for it.
Yup. I read recently that the percentage of California's budget allocated for debt service has increased from a little over 3% to almost 9% in the past ten years.
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Old 12-01-2011, 04:31 PM   #20
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Yes, I agree, and I mostly blame the politicians for this (even though they are selected by the electorate). This may be naive, but I still believe that their job is to lead and make the tough decisions, even if those decisions are unpopular. If they did their job, it wouldn't be necessary to have so many propositions, which are often misguided and corrupted by special interests.
I think the electorate is equally to blame along with politicians and special interests. We've made it nearly impossible for politicians to lead by doing anything except what a very polarized electorate demands, for example (and we wonder why Washington is frozen in their tracks)....


The 75% of people (reportedly) who seem willing to raise everyone's taxes and cut spending across the board aren't making their case as effectively as the far left, far right and their respective special interests.
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