It’s a good time to be in the Sunshine State! Last month George Mason University released an evaluation they completed “Ranking the States by Fiscal Condition”, and Florida came out on top! Florida’s No. 1 ranking ends Alaska’s three-year reign atop the leaderboard.

We work hard in the Legislature to ensure that Florida remains fiscally sound. That is our first responsibility to our constituents and all Floridians. If our state is not fiscally sound, all the rest of our goals and endeavors in Florida are put in jeopardy.

The group ranked Florida as the state with the strongest fiscal condition based on data collected from each state’s most recent audited comprehensive annual financial report. For the ranking, each state was evaluated on the amount of cash it had on hand as well as its budget solvency, long-run solvency, service-level solvency and trust-fund solvency.

We may not get every policy issue right up in Tallahassee, but we take great care to ensure you tax dollars are managed and spent responsibly. 20 million people are counting on us to get our budget balanced and fiscally sound. It is clear, especially in comparison to Washington DC, that we are getting some things right.

After Florida in the ranking came North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, respectively. The study found that top-performing states tended to have higher levels of cash, more robustly funded pensions and strong operating positions.

New Jersey earned the unlucky designation of being the state with the worst fiscal condition. The study said New Jersey’s revenue only covered 91 percent of its 2015 expenses. Rounding out the bottom five were Illinois, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Maryland

It is a testament to our fiscally conservative mindset that our budget here in Florida is half that of New York, yet we have more citizens. It is clear that it is not about who spends the most that is successful, but instead who provides the best value for its citizens.

Florida, we have a lot to celebrate!

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