America's 5 Worst Deadbeat States

Florida's state budget expanded dramatically during the housing boom and despite efforts to sock cash away during flush times, it is having enormous difficulty trying to meet expenses and bracing for an expected budget shortfall in 2011 of as high as $2.6 billion, the Pew study said. For a state whose booming economy, conservative budget practices and a constitutionally mandated reserves policy kept it out of trouble for roughly the past half century, Florida is in "uncharted territory," the Pew study said.

Florida once added as many as half a million new residents a year; between April 2008 and April 2009, Florida actually saw its population shrink by 58,000 people. Florida also consumes eight times the amount of energy it is able to produce, according to Gregor.com.

New York State of Bind

The Empire State faces a $21 billion budget deficit this fiscal year which ends in April. To put that in perspective, that is 38 percent of New York's total budget. Only California has a higher absolute dollar deficit figure weighing it down, and only four states (California, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois) have larger gaps when measured as a percentage of total budget. The state has historically relied heavily upon revenues from taxes on bonuses paid out by Wall Street firms, in some years accounting for nearly one-fifth of the total budget. The collapse of several Wall Street firms, along with a backlash against financial industry pay in general, is expected to put the state in a severe bind. As state legislatures go, Albany gives Sacramento a run for its (ability to mismanage) money.

Michigan's Mess

Detroit's auto woes have pushed Michigan's unemployment level to 14.6 percent, the highest in the country. The eighth most populated state, Michigan has been forced to partially shut down state government functions twice in the past two years as lawmakers failed to agree on a budget, according to the Pew's study. It currently faces a $2.8 billion budget gap.

When the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis releases finalized 2009 data, Michigan is expected to be among the 10 poorest states, according to Donald Grimes, a senior research specialist at the University of Michigan.

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