(Forbes) […] Two factors determine whether a state makes this elite list of fiscal hellholes. The first is whether it has more takers than makers. A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector.
Let us give those takers the benefit of our sympathy and assume that every single one of them is a deserving soul. This person is either genuinely needy or a dedicated public servant or the recipient of a well-earned pension.
But what happens when these needy types outnumber the providers? Taxes get too high. Prosperous citizens decamp. Employers decamp. That just makes matters worse for the taxpayers left behind.
Let’s say you are a software entrepreneur with 100 on your payroll. If you stay in San Francisco, your crew will support 139 takers. In Texas, they would support only 82. Austin looks very attractive.
Ranked on the taker/maker ratio, our 11 death spiral states range from New Mexico, with 1.53 takers for every maker, down to Ohio, with a 1-to-1 ratio.
The taker count is the number of state and local government workers plus the number of people on Medicaid plus 1 for each $100,000 of unfunded pension liabilities. Sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and a study of state worker pensions done in 2009 by two academics, Joshua Rauh and Rovert Novy-Marx. Professor Rauh estimates that the shortage in pension funding is on average a third higher today. (For the second factor read more)