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SD: One Of The Best-Run States

December 6, 2011, 9:53 PM by Peggy Moyer

SD: One Of The Best-Run States
SIOUX FALLS, SD - While balancing a state budget is a challenging task, a recent report found South Dakota among the best-managed states.

A report from Yahoo Finance suggests South Dakota is the tenth best-run state in the country. Wyoming takes home top honors while California ranks the worst.

24/7 Wall Street analyzed data from all 50 states, putting South Dakota's financial health, standard of living and government services up against the rest.

The director of South Dakota's budget and policy project isn't surprised to see the top ten ranking.

"There's not a lot of fat in our state government so when we go to try to implement cuts, we are ending up making really tough choices regarding what services we are cutting, not what inefficiencies are we cutting," South Dakota Budget and Policy Project director Joy Smolinsky said.

Here's where South Dakota's numbers stand on four criteria used across the board:
  • State debt per capita is the 12th highest in the nation. 
  • The percent of our population living below the poverty line is 25th highest.
While those numbers are higher than most would like to see, it's the lower rankings that helped South Dakota come out on top.
  • The state has the third lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
  • The percentage of people living without health insurance comes in 18th lowest in the nation.
Some other points of data considered included states' use of their natural resources, crime rates, the quality of education offered and home foreclosure rates.

The judges seem to like what's happening in the Upper Midwest because all of our neighboring states, with the one exception of Montana, made the top ten.

"One of the reasons the Midwest shows up at the top tier of this report is because unemployment is an important factor they look at," Smolinsky said.

Smolinsky says governments in the Upper Midwest tend to be more efficient, and South Dakotans already get more for less, compared with other states.

"We collect very low taxes in South Dakota and we get very good government for the taxes that we pay," Smolinsky said. 

That's good news for those of us to call South Dakota home.

South Dakota's poverty rate and amount of debt per capita is higher than those of our neighboring states.

Read more about the “Best and Worst Run States” report on Yahoo Finance.

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