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$56.9 billion

January 6, 2011

New Jersey’s debt keeps piling up, but it's not alone, as evidenced by the newly released U.S. Census data on 2009 financials for each of the 50 states. The Garden State ended fiscal year 2009 -- which spanned the last six months of the Corzine administration and the first six months of the Christie administration -- $56.9 billion in debt, with general revenues of $49 billion ($12.4 billion of it from the federal government) and $62 billion in total expenditures. The debt level jumped from $52.8 billion in 2008.

New Jersey’s debt level may be among the country’s highest, but it’s got plenty of company. The total U.S. state government debt was $1 trillion in 2009. California ($134.6 billion), New York ($122.63 billion) and Massachusetts ($74.6 billion) all outpaced New Jersey, but California and New York have larger populations and higher revenues. New Jersey has the same level of debt as Illinois ($56.9 billion), although it, too, has a much larger population. But its expenditures are not much higher than New Jersey’s.

Pennsylvania’s debt was $42 billion at the end of fiscal 2009. Delaware’s was $5.9 billion. There are large states, however, that do not seem so reliant on debt financing: Florida has only 38.8 billion in debt, despite having more than twice the population of New Jersey. Similarly, Texas has 30.4 billion in debt.

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