published on January 6, 2017 - 3:22 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A recent report released by Truth in Accounting (TIA) shows that Fresno’s financial health is second best in the nation when comparing the 50 most populous cities.

The report, Financial State of the Cities, ranks cities by taxpayer burden—the amount each taxpayer would have to pay for the city to be debt-free. Fresno was one of only seven cities with enough money to pay off its debts and have a taxpayer surplus.

At No. 2, Fresno has a surplus of $2,100—the amount the city would be able to provide to each taxpayer after paying its bills. The only city with a higher surplus was Charlotte, North Carolina, which had a taxpayer surplus of $3,300. Rounding out the top 3 was Raleigh, North Carolina, with a surplus of $1,100.

In contrast, the bottom three cities were New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. If taxpayers had to pay their share of the city’s debt today, New York City taxpayers owe $61,000, Chicago taxpayers owe $44,000 and Philadelphia taxpayers owe $27,500.

The lowest ranked cities also have the highest amount of total unfunded debt: New York City has $167.6 billion of debt, Chicago has $38.3 billion, and Philadelphia has $14.3 billion. On average, the 50 most populous cities carry $5.9 billion of unfunded debt.

In addition to being ranked No. 2 nationally, Fresno was the only city listed in the state to have a surplus. To get out of debt, taxpayers in other California cities would need to cough up between $2,900 (San Diego) and $17,100 (Oakland). Taxpayers in Los Angeles would owe $7,400 and taxpayers in San Francisco would owe $16,400.

“The vast majority of the cities we examined didn’t have enough assets to meet all their future obligations, but Fresno is in great shape when compared nationally,” Sheila Weinberg, Founder and CEO of Truth Accounting, said in a statement. “Hopefully, Fresno will continue to be a model for California sinkholes like Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

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