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Virginia has high incomes, good credit
An annual report ranks the state in several ways in comparison to the other 49.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
RICHMOND — How does Virginia stack up against the other 49 states? Glad you asked.
Every year, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, a state watchdog agency, puts out a report comparing the Old Dominion to the rest of the nation on a wide variety of measures. The 2013 edition is just out, and it provides relevant background for some of the major debates of this year’s General Assembly session.
Before the lawmakers pack up and go home, here’s a handful of takeaways from the latest report:
n We’re a high-income state. Virginia’s per capita personal income of $46,469 is the eighth-highest in the country.
n We’re a low-tax state. Virginians’ state and local tax load as a percentage of their personal income ranks 43rd in the nation.
n We’re heavily dependent on federal government spending. Our level of per capita federal expenditures ranks fifth: $14,463 a year for every man, woman and child in the state.
n Our credit is squeaky-clean. Virginia’s triple-A bond rating ranks No. 1.
n Our colleges are a bit pricey. The average annual in-state tuition and fees at Virginia’s four-year public institutions is $9,907, 13th highest.
n State support for colleges isn’t so hot (which helps explain the previous item). Virginia’s government support for higher education ranks 35th.
n Gas taxes are pretty low. Virginia’s 17.5-cents-per-gallon motor fuel tax, which Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to get rid of, ranks 37th.
n Spending on roads? Even lower. Per capita state and local road expenditures — a key factor in the debate over McDonnell’s transportation funding plan — is 43rd.
n Spending on Medicaid? Lower still. Per capita state spending on the health insurance program for low-income Virginians — another ongoing debate — ranks 46th.
n But when it comes to prisons, we’re big spenders. State corrections expenditures per offender are the 13th highest in the nation.
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