Kentucky 6th from bottom in list of Best Run States [Opinion: The Arena]

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Not as badly managed as California

The good news is that Kentucky has moved up six ranks on the annual list of best run states in America.  The bad news, of course, is this is in comparison to last year, when the Bluegrass State finished dead last.

For the second year, the financial website, 24/7 Wall St., has reviewed data on financial health, standard of living and government services by state to determine how well each state is managed. Based on this data, 24/7 Wall St. ranked the 50 states from the best to worst run. The best-run state is Wyoming. The worst-run state is California.

bad manager.jpgLast year, 24/7 Wall St. named Kentucky the worst-run state in the country. The Commonwealth saw slight improvements in the percentage of its population with high school diplomas and poverty rate. Violent crime dropped significantly — now the 10th-lowest rate in the country, compared to the 17th-lowest last year. Despite these improvements, Kentucky remains one of the poorest states in the country, ranking among the five worst for median income and poverty rate. It is also one of just four states to be awarded an unfavorable AA- credit rating, the third worst score awarded to any state.

Kentucky’s state debt per capita is $3,107 (23rd lowest), and its unemployment rate averaged 9.7% (13th highest).  Kentuckians without health insurance amounted to 15.3% of the population (20th highest), and 18.2% of our citizens were below the poverty line  (4th highest).

stooges.jpgTo determine how well -- or how poorly -- a state is run, 24/7 Wall St. weighed each state’s financial health based on factors including credit score and debt. They also evaluated how a state uses its resources to provide its residents with high living standards, reviewing dimensions such as health insurance, employment rate, low crime and a good education.

This year, as a new component of their analysis, 24/7 Wall St. obtained additional budget data for each state. Examining the state’s revenue and expenditures, and what each government opted to spend money on, allowed them to determine if a state overspent limited resources, failed to devote funds to an urgent need of its citizens or spent a great deal of money but with poor results. While they did not use expenditures or revenue in the final ranking, these numbers reflect how a state is managed. Together with other budget data, living standards and government services, it provided a complete picture of the management of each state.

The list of states, from best- to worst-run:

  1. Wyoming

  2. Nebraska

  3. North Dakota

  4. Minnesota

  5. Iowa

  6. Utah

  7. Vermont

  8. Virginia

  9. Kansas

10. South Dakota

11. Maryland

12. Hawaii

13. New Hampshire

14. Maine

KY SEAL ANIMATED.gif15. Pennsylvania

16. Wisconsin

17. Washington

18. Alaska

19. North Carolina

20. Missouri

21. Delaware

22. Connecticut

23. Indiana

24. Ohio

25. Texas

26. Idaho

27. Montana

28. Oklahoma

29. Tennessee

30. Massachusetts

31. Oregon

32. Georgia

33. Colorado

34. New York

35. Arkansas

36. Alabama

37. New Jersey

38. Mississippi

39. West Virginia

40. Florida

41. New Mexico

42. Louisiana

43. Rhode Island

KEN-FLAG1.GIF44. Kentucky

45. South Carolina

46. Nevada

47. Arizona

48. Michigan

49. Illinois

50. California

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Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).

 

About Thomas McAdam
At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.
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