According to analysis by Truth in Accounting, Kentucky does not have enough assets available ($12.8 billion), to pay the state's bills, ($44.9 billion). The difference between assets and bills is $32.1 billion. That debt divided by the number of taxpayers reveals Kentucky's per-taxpayer burden of $26,700 in 2012.  Only eight states--Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, and Wyoming--achieved a per-taxpayer surplus in 2012.

Kentucky beat the 180 day goal time between the close of its fiscal year and release of its 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), publishing the report 167 days after the fiscal year-end.  The timeliest states- Utah (111 days), Washington (138), and Michigan (151)- published their CAFRs well before the 180 day deadline. The worst state, New Mexico, took 426 days, over a year after fiscal year end, to publish its CAFR..

Truth in Accounting has a unique, comprehensive methodology to analyze all state assets and liabilities, including unreported pension and retirement health liabilities.  The result is shown as the per-taxpayer surplus or liability, the difference in each state's assets and liabilities divided by the number of taxpayers in the state.

More detail on Kentucky’s assets and liabilities can be found in the Kentucky State of the State (2012).


  • Kentucky is a Sinkhole State, one of the five worst states in its per-taxpayer burden for the fiscal years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
  • With an average personal income of $35,643, Kentucky's taxpayer burden is 75% of a year's income, a decrease of one percentage point from 2011.
  • Outbound moves from Kentucky in 2012 were 55.3% of total moves, reflecting business and citizen concerns about the state's economic health.
  • Kentucky's per-taxpayer burden increased to $26,700 in 2012, and the state's rank remained 46th.
  • Kentucky's financial reports disclose only $5.2 billion of retirement liabilities, leaving $22.9 billion undisclosed.
  • Kentucky's 'Net Revenue' (total general revenue less total net expenses) was negative in 2012 as well as three out of the last five years. (2008, 2009, and 2010). This amount, however, does not include changes in liabilities not fully disclosed such as pensions and retiree health insurance. Read more on 'Net Revenue'.