Tennessee ranked by national online news outlet as having lowest debt in nation

For Immediate Release    Contact:  Darlene Schlicher (615) 741-6336

(NASHVILLE, TN), August 17, 2010 — A national news reporting and opinion website has listed Tennessee as the best state in the nation in terms of debt by ranking the volunteer state as having the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the nation. The Daily Beast, which is an online news and commentary outlet, released the state-by-state list in the wake of Congress’ passage of a $26 billion stimulus bill passed last week. 

Tennessee had a debt ratio of 1.95 as compared to Rhode Island, which was ranked as having the worst debt in the nation with a 21.54 percent ratio.

“We have worked very hard over the past two decades at keeping Tennessee as debt free as possible,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge).  McNally has served on the Finance Committee for 20 years.  “Like with family budgets, debt is one of the worst pitfalls in financial planning, particularly in lean economic times like we are currently facing.”

The online publication said the debt numbers were calculated by using U.S. Census data and past state debt increases or decreases to estimate current debt levels.  Calculations were also based on information from an independent analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities utilizing baseline budget spending compared to expected revenue.

Many states were depending on passage of a second stimulus package by spending the funds before they arrive, even though the money had not been approved by Congress.  Tennessee, rather, took a cautious approach by making spending provisions that were contingent upon passage of the federal bill.  The congressional bill, H.R. 1586, was signed into law on August 10.

“We have taken a very fiscally prudent path in our state finances,” added Chairman McNally.  “This includes our cautious approach to any further stimulus funds that might come to us through the FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentages) enhanced funding package.  I appreciate the acknowledgement by this publication that shows our efforts to keep Tennessee out of debt.”


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