Please note that this title and post are not about municipal budgets, but about the financial security of individuals and households.
From the AJC’s Georgia is dead last in financial security:
The study by the Washington-based Corporation for Enterprise Development ranked Georgia dead last in terms of the financial security of its residents, based on factors such as their high debt load, lack of savings and assets, and the prevalence of personal bankruptcies. [. . .]
The report reflected the devastating blows that have struck a state where unemployment exceeds the national average and major economic engines — real estate, banking and home construction — aren’t firing on all cylinders. The state ranked in the bottom fifth of states in several categories: poverty-level income (42nd in the country), bankruptcies (50th), poor credit (48th), overdue debt (48th), and households with neither a savings nor a checking account (49th).
I’ve written often about the reasons for Georgia’s economic woes since 2007, but I’ll recap a few reasons here:
- an over-reliance on construction and growth as economic drivers
- wildly incorrect assumptions about the growth
- an out-of-control banking system
- rampant and irrational speculation in real estate even after the housing downturn began
- poor transportation infrastructure
- a state government that has often been at odds with Atlanta, the city upon which much of the growth in the state depends
- significant cuts to education
- too much back-slapping about the state’s allegedly pro-business policies even as job losses indicated otherwise
- an over-reliance on other industries tied to housing (like carpet manufacturing)
I could go on. Georgia really needs a new economic development strategy, as Maria Saporta argued here.
I’ll have more to say about Saporta’s piece in an upcoming post.