As a new governor gets set to take office, here's a quick look at how Pa. stacks up to other states in a few areas that might tell us something about how we're run.
You know that public pension costs are rising and underfunded, right. Well, the good news is we're not the nation's worst pension manager.
According to best/worst listings by Bloomberg, we rank 16th among the states in underfunded pensions. Worse-off states include Illinois, Kentucky, Connecticut and Alaska. So maybe lawmakers, rather than fixing pension problems, can simply chant `we're not the worst, we're not the worst.'
What are we worst at? We're #1 in deficient bridges. One could argue that's due our Legislature's penchant for dealing with problems by saying `we'll cross that bridge when we come to it -- assuming it doesn't collapse.'
Also, we're #2 in spending at casinos. Only Nevada spends more. Oh, and we have fewer casino jobs that any of the top six states with operating casinos.
Guess that shows we like to invest in luck but not so much in job-creation.
And we're #3 among in states in paying sin taxes. You know, on booze, tobacco, gaming? Only Texas and New York pay more. Why? Maybe because the sin tax is the easiest tax to pass and our Legislature has a long-running love affair with easy.
We're #2 in longest marriages. Probably because of our age. (We're currently the third-oldest state in terms of percentage of residents 65 and older -- Florida and West Virginia are ahead of us.) But also maybe because we rank in the middle of states in per capita income and need a spouse with a job to maintain a lifestyle.
Places with shortages marriages? Alaska, probably cuz at least one partner doesn't want to stay there. And D.C., likely due to its overall decadence and corruption and power and greed and me-first philosophy.
But take heart, we're #6 and growing in breweries. So cheers.
(You can view the Bloomberg data here. The numbers are the most current, 2013. And if you scroll down to Pa. and click on it you can see its rankings in other categories.)