New Jersey is saddled with debt, so much so that a nonpartisan group called State Budget Solutions ranks the Garden State fourth among states thanks to its $282 billion in debt. Worse, it comes in only slightly below states — such as New York and Texas — with far higher populations.
The bulk of New Jersey’s debt is due to its unfunded pension liabilities and promised post-retirement benefits such as health and insurance. The report cited $145 billion in unfunded pension liabilities plus another $71 billion in post-employment benefits. New Jersey also has $65 billion in other outstanding debt, according to the report, plus nearly $600 million in unemployment trust fund loans from the federal government and a $500 million budget gap.
California ranked first in terms of debt with $617 billion. New York and Texas just edged out New Jersey with $300 billion and $286 billion obligated respectively. Illinois was ranked fifth with $271 billion.