Iowa is 5th ‘best run’ state, well ahead of Texas and Mass.
Iowa is the fifth “best run” state in the country, according to a new study by 24/7WallSt.com, a web site that publishes lists and writes about business trends .
Rankings released Monday cite Iowa’s low unemployment rate, high level of high school graduates and broad health insurance coverage.
“ Well-run states have a great deal in common with well-run corporations,” the study said. “Books are kept balanced. Investment is prudent. Debt is sustainable. Innovation is prized. Workers are well-chosen and well-trained. Executives, including elected and appointed officials, are retained based on merit and not politics.”
To determine how well a state is run, the study looked at a variety of factors, including credit scores and debt and “how a state uses its resources to provide its residents with high living standards.”
Normally in rankings like these Iowans look to see who was at the top (Wyoming) and bottom (California) and where neighboring states placed. In this case, all of Iowa’s were in the top half, except for Illinois, which was No. 49. Nebraska was No. 2; Minnesota, No. 4; South Dakota, No. 10; Wisconsin, No. 16; and Missouri was No. 20.
But there are three other states Iowan’s might want to look at for comparison purposes, given that the state’s caucuses are nearly upon us and that three of this year’s Republican candidates are former or current governors.
Utah, where Jon Huntsman was governor from 2004 to 2009, is No. 6, right behind Iowa. The study gives Utah high marks for low crime and high graduation rates. Most of its other rankings are slightly worse than Iowa.
Texas, where Rick Perry has been governor since late 2000, ranks No. 25. The state has the second lowest ratio of state debt per capita ($1,240, compared with $2,117 for Iowa) and the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance 23.7 percent. The state also has one of the worst high school graduation rates (80.9 percent, compared with Iowa’s 90.6 percent rate.)
Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney was governor from 2003 to 2007, is No. 30. Massachusetts has the lowest number of residents without health care (4.4 percent, compared with 9.6 percent for Iowa) and the highest debt per capita ratio, $11,357. The reason for that high ratio is the state spends a lot on needy families and pension benefits for retired state employees, the study said.
One other state Iowan’s might be curious about during this political season is New Hampshire. It ranks No. 13 with low unemployment (5.4 percent) and the lowest poverty of any state (8.1 percent), but like Massachusetts, New Hampshire has high per capita debt, $6,357, which is the seventh worst in the country.
HOW IOWA RANKS
No. 5 Best “run state,” behind No. 1 Wyoming, No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 North Dakota and No. 4 Minnesota.
No. 6 Lowest (9.3 percent) without health insurance.
No. 8 Lowest unemployment rate, 6 percent.
No. 13 Lowest state debt per capita, $2,117.
No. 14 Lowest (11.9 percent) below poverty line.