Our Fair State (or should I say Our Broke State?) is $33.7 billion in debt, the fourth-worst of the fifty states. That's $3,317 for every person- so I need over $13K for my family of four.
New Jersey has been among the nation's five most indebted states since 1998, when public officials borrowed to pay for everything from public employee pensions and school construction to business incentive grants and the state's annual operating expenses.
With about $3 billion allocated to repaying the debt each year, state Treasurer Brad Abelow and Gov. Jon Corzine have said the state's credit card is maxed out. They are considering leasing operating rights to the New Jersey Turnpike, the State Lottery or some other high-profile state asset to pay down the debt so that they can borrow the additional billions of dollars needed for school building, highways and open-space acquisition.
The increase in state debt last year, $800 million, was the smallest since 2001, the report shows. While New Jersey was taking a breather, Massachusetts piled on $2.5 billion in new debt, pushing it past New Jersey on the list of top debtors.
Corzine has made some financial improvement in Our Fair State; at least our rate of borrowing has slowed.
Hey, it's something.