(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania’s ledger falls $78.5 billion short, a new report concludes, leaving individual taxpayers on the hook for $18,300 each.

That ranks the Keystone State’s overall fiscal health 38th in the nation, according to Truth in Accounting’s annual Financial State of the States report published Tuesday. The Chicago-based nonprofit was founded in 2002 by certified public accountant Sheila Weinberg.

“The beginning of the pandemic hurt state finances,” she said. “For many states, investment income decreased dramatically while pension debt increased, which future taxpayers will be on the hook for.”

Pennsylvania’s poor health stems from $41.6 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $23.2 billion in health care benefits – policy issues that predated the COVID-19 pandemic, but grew worse in 2020.

It’s one of 15 states that received a D rating in the report. The organization writes that Pennsylvania didn’t have enough money socked away to weather the pandemic, either, only worsening its already poor condition.

The state’s ranking remains unchanged from last year, though the individual taxpayer burden was $1,900 less.

While pension funding remains a hotly scrutinized topic in the General Assembly, lawmakers at least addressed its depleted rainy day fund by saving the majority of its federal pandemic aid for a future fiscal cliff.

Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania’s General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.

This article was republished with permission from The Center Square.

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