It’s an old and familiar problem at the start of a brand new year.

A new report finds New Jersey has the worst fiscal health of any state in the nation.

According to Sheila Weinberg, the founder and CEO of Truth in Accounting, New Jersey is at the very bottom of the five worst Sinkhole States in America because the money that is needed by the state to pay outstanding bills has increased by more than $12.5 billion.

She said this translates to an individual taxpayer burden in New Jersey of $58,700, the highest total for any state in America.

Not enough money

“We take into consideration the assets the state has and then we subtract the bills that they have accumulated to come to what we call money needed to pay bills for the state of New Jersey,” she said.

“We give the state an F grade because of their financial condition, the state has pension and retiree healthcare debt that needs to be paid in the future," she said.

Weinberg said the report finds the state of New Jersey has “$43 billion of assets, non-capital assets, and then we subtract bills of $241 billion, and the state is short $198 billion.”

She said this is not a new problem for the Garden State.

davidmariuz ThinkStock

Things keep getting worse

She pointed out in 2009, each New Jersey taxpayer’s share of the debt was $35,000 but today it’s ballooned to almost $59,000.

She said a main concern is New Jersey “taxpayers and voters just don’t have the financial information they need to be knowledgeable participants in their government.”

What does all of this mean?

Weinberg said it means in New Jersey “future taxpayers are going to pay $58,700 in taxes and they’re not going to receive any government services or benefits for those taxes, that money has already been spent.”

Khanchit Khirisutchalual GettyImages
Khanchit Khirisutchalual GettyImages

Fast Facts

💵 New Jersey had $43.4 billion available to pay $241.1 billion worth of bills. The outcome was a $197.7 billion shortfall, which breaks down to a burden of $58,700 per taxpayer.

💵 New Jersey’s financial position appeared to decrease in 2021. Its status will most likely decline further as federal COVID funding decreases and the market value of retirement system assets decline.

💵 The state ranked second worst for financial health is Connecticut, while Illinois comes in third.

💵 The highest-ranked state is Alaska, followed by North Dakota and Wyoming.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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