For the fourth year in a row, most states are facing substantial budget deficits. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the budget gaps total $112 billion for fiscal year 2012, which starts July 1 in most states. Only six states do not project having a shortfall to contend with.

The situation has governors and state legislatures struggling, yet again, to balance their budgets. Texas is currently debating $10 billion in education-related cuts. California, meanwhile, is planning to extend tax increases implemented under former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but only if voters approve. Other states are relying on budgetary sleight of hand to alleviate their troubles. For example, in Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear has sought support for a plan to move Medicaid funds pegged for next year to the current year.

Here is a chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, published by AARP, that shows the deficits in US states, which directly relates to increased taxation and budget crisis. A major reason why many folks are considering Arkansas over other states in the US for investing and lifestyle change. Arkansas is a fiscally conservative state that consistently makes the list of the few states that maintain a balanced budget.  

State

Projected FY   2012
deficit (in millions)

Deficit as   percent
of 2011 spending

Rank
by percent

Nevada $1,500 45.20 1
New Jersey $10,500 37.40 2
Texas $13,400 31.50 3
California $25,400 29.30 4
Oregon $1,800 25.00 5
Minnesota $3,800 23.60 6
Louisiana $1,600 20.70 7
New York $10,000 18.70 8
Connecticut $3,200 18.00 9
South Carolina $877 17.40 10
Pennsylvania $4,200 16.40 11
Vermont $176 16.30 12
Washington $2,500 16.20 13
Maine $436 16.10 14
Florida $3,600 14.90 15
Illinois $4,900 14.60 16
Mississippi $634 14.10 17
Alabama $979 13.90 18
Colorado $988 13.80 19
Virginia $2,000 13.10 20
Wisconsin $1,800 12.80 21
North Carolina $2,400 12.70 22
Arizona $974 11.50 23
Rhode Island $331 11.30 24
Ohio $3,000 11.00 25
South Dakota $127 10.90 26
Maryland $1,400 10.70 27
Oklahoma $500 9.40 28
Nebraska $314 9.20 29
Kentucky $780 9.10 30
Missouri $704 9.10 31
Kansas $492 8.80 32
New Mexico $450 8.30 33
Hawaii $410 8.20 34
Utah $390 8.20 35
Georgia $1,300 7.90 36
Delaware $208 6.30 37
Michigan $1,300 5.90 38
Massachusetts $1,800 5.70 39
District of Columbia $322 5.20 40
Idaho $92 3.90 41
Iowa $186 3.50 42
Indiana $270 2.00 43
New Hampshire not reported NA NA
Tennessee not reported NA NA
Alaska 0 0 NA
Arkansas 0 0 NA
Montana 0 0 NA
North Dakota 0 0 NA
West Virginia 0 0 NA
Wyoming 0 0 NA
States Total $111.9 billion 17.60

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Note: In case of ties, the “win” went to the state with the higher deficit in raw dollars, except for the six states with no deficits — these were ranked in alphabetical order. All figures represent estimates and are subject to change. NA means not applicable.