New Orleans has liabilities equaling $18,800 per taxpayer, 5th worst in U.S. among major cities

Among the 75 most populous cities in the U.S., New Orleans ranks 71st for the state of its finances, having $18,800 in liabilities per taxpayer, according to a Truth in Accounting (TIA) analysis of municipal data released last month. 

The nonprofit group, which promotes financial transparency in government, gave New Orleans a grade of “D” for its fiscal policies.

The numbers are based on 2018 comprehensive financial reports. Altogether, the 75 largest cities have a cumulative shortfall to pay off all their debts amounting to $323 billion, according to TIA.

Sixty-three of the 75 cities studied by TIA lack sufficient funds to pay off all their debts, including promised pension benefits for public employees.

In recent years, municipal government finances have become more transparent due to requirements that agencies disclose pension and other paid benefits on balance sheets, the TIA study said.

Grading the Finances of the Largest U.S. Cities

Rank City Taxpayer Share of City’s Surplus or Liability Grade
1 Irvine, Calif. $4,100 B
2 Washington, D.C. $3,500 B
3 Charlotte, S.C. $3,400 B
4 Fresno, Calif. $3,200 B
5 Plano, Texas $2,800 B
6 Stockton, Calif. $2,600 B
7 Lincoln, Neb. $2,500 B
8 Aurora, Colo. $2,200 B
9 Arlington, Texas $2,100 B
10 Tampa, Fla. $1,700 B
11 Raleigh, N.C. $1,400 B
12 Tulsa, Okla. $100 B
13 Corpus Christi, Texas -$300 C
14 Oklahoma City -$400 C
15 Long Beach, Calif. -$500 C
16 Greensboro, N.C. -$700 C
17 San Antonio, Texas -$1,100 C
18 Wichita, Kan. -$1,200 C
19 Louisville, Ky. -$1,300 C
20 Bakersfield, Calif. -$1,600 C
21 Fort Wayne, Ind. -$1,700 C
22 Minneapolis -$1,900 C
23 Henderson, Nev. -$1,900 C
24 Las Vegas -$2,100 C
25 Virginia Beach, Va. -$2,100 C
26 Colorado Springs. Colo. -$2,300 C
27 Chula Vista, Calif. -$2,300 C
28 Orlando, Fla. -$2,300 C
29 St. Paul, Minn. -$2,300 C
30 Riverside, Calif. -$3,300 C
31 Austin, Texas -$3,300 C
32 Indianapolis -$3,500 C
33 Memphis, Tenn. -$3,700 C
34 El Paso, Texas -$3,900 C
35 Los Angeles -$4,000 C
36 Toledo, Ohio -$4,100 C
37 San Diego -$4,500 C
38 Sacramento, Calif. -$4,600 C
39 Columbus, Ohio -$4,800 C
40 Cleveland, Ohio -$5,100 D
41 Detroit -$5,100 D
42 Mesa, Ariz. -$5,300 D
43 Santa Ana, Calif. -$5,400 D
44 Seattle -$5,400 D
45 Phoenix -$5,500 D
46 Albuquerque -$5,800 D
47 Anaheim, Calif. -$6,200 D
48 Denver -$6,500 D
49 Omaha, Neb. -$7,100 D
50 Anchorage, Alaska -$7,800 D
51 Tucson, Ariz. -$8,100 D
52 Jacksonville, Fla. -$8,500 D
53 Lexington, Ky. -$9,100 D
54 Dallas -$9,400 D
55 San Jose -$9,400 D
56 Kansas City, Mo. -$9,800 D
57 Atlanta -$9,900 D
58 Boston -$10,200 D
59 Miami -$10,600 D
60 Houston -$11,600 D
61 Fort Worth, Texas -$12,300 D
62 Milwaukee, Wis. -$12,800 D
63 St. Louis -$14,500 D
64 Pittsburgh -$15,600 D
65 Cincinnati -$15,600 D
66 Baltimore -$16,000 D
67 San Francisco -$17,000 D
68 Nashville, Tenn. -$18,400 D
69 Portland, Ore. -$18,400 D
70 Oakland, Calif. -$18,600 D
71 New Orleans -$18,800 D
72 Philadelphia -$25,500 F
73 Honolulu -$26,400 F
74 Chicago -$37,100 F
75 New York City -$63,100 F

Source: Truth in Accounting

This article was first published by The Center Square.

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