Sarah Arnett a PhD in Public Policy at the Georgia State University has developed a method for assessing the fiscal condition of states. Her evaluation of the 50 states is published in a Working Paper for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Sarah Arnett’s Abstract:
State fiscal condition is multifaceted and difficult to measure. Using a method developed in previous research, I create the cash, budget, long-run, and service-level solvency indices using fiscal year 2012 data to measure the dimensions of fiscal condition. The five states with the highest-ranked overall fiscal condition are Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming. The five states with the lowest-ranked fiscal condition are New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and California. The top five states all had a surplus in fiscal year 2012 as measured by an increase in net assets, but there are differences in their underlying strengths. I find that the states with the worst fiscal condition have had years of poor financial management across the different dimensions of fiscal condition. [Emphasis added]
The study and details are linked at the Mercatus Center navigation button above.