According to analysis by Truth in Accounting, Michigan does not have enough assets available ($22.7 billion), to pay the state's bills, ($97.7 billion). The difference between assets and bills is $75 billion. That debt divided by the number of taxpayers reveals Michigan's per-taxpayer burden of $25,300 in 2012.  Only eight states--Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, and Wyoming--achieved a per-taxpayer surplus in 2012.

Michigan was one of the timiliest states in 2012: It 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 151 days after the fiscal year-end.  The other timeliest states were Utah (111 days) and Washington (138). 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 Michigan’s assets and liabilities can be found in the Michigan State of the State (2012).

Publishing Entity:  Michigan State Budget Office


  • Michigan's per-taxpayer burden increased to $25,300 in 2012, and the state's rank stayed at 44th.
  • With an average personal income of $38,291, Michigan's taxpayer burden grew to 66.1% of a year's income.
  • Outbound moves from Michigan in 2012 were 57.46% of total moves, reflecting business and citizen concerns about the state's economic health.
  • Michigan's unemployment rate was 9.1%, compared to a national average of 8.1% in 2012.
  • Michigan's financial reports disclose only $3.7 billion of retirement liabilities, leaving $67.1 billion undisclosed. Compared to 2011 (63.6), this represents an increase of over 5%.
  • Michigan's 'Net Revenue' (total general revenue less total net expenses) was positive in 2012 but was negative in five of the past eight years (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010). This amount, however, does not include changes in liabilities not fully disclosed such as pensions and retiree health insurance. According to the state's own numbers, Michigan repeatedly did not satisfy its budgetary duties. Read more on 'Net Revenue'.
Pension cuts may block Detroit's bankruptcy


Remember when Detroit's filing for bakruptcy dominated headlines this past summer. Well, possible pension cuts may impede the bankruptcy from going through.