A product of thePennsylvania Chamber Foundation

Budgets and their related phenomenon, expenditures, are important indicators for the size and cost of government. The “Budget” category includes measures of the commonwealth’s bond rating, expenditure of state funds as a percentage of the state’s gross product (GSP), expenditures of state funds per capita, and the total state debt outstanding as a percentage of state gross product.

In the budget and expenditures category, Pennsylvania tends to be ranked around the middle on most measures. For the bond ratings provided by Standard and Poor’s, Pennsylvania’s ranking has dropped from 29th (“AA” rating) in 2014 to 42nd (“AA-” rating) in 2017. For 2018, the commonwealth ranked 17th in the ratio of state expenditures to state gross domestic product*, ranked from lowest to highest percentage; and 21st in state expenditures per capita*. Pennsylvania ranked 27th for the ratio of the total state debt outstanding to state gross domestic product.


* During 2012 to 2014 internal Pennsylvania adjustments led to an approximate doubling of the category “Other State Funds”. This in turn resulted in much higher expenditures as a percentage of gross state product, causing the rank to fall to 37th in 2012, remaining there in 2014. These internal adjustments appear to have changed again for 2015 and, as a result, the commonwealth’s rank returned to its previous position.

  2009 to Most Recent Change Most Recent PA Score Most Recent Median Score Most Recent PA Rank 2009 to Most Recent Change in Rank
Standard and Poor’s Bond Rating N/A AA- 42 N/A
State Expenditures as a Percent of Gross State Product 1.07% 6.49% 7.32% 17 +3
State Expenditures per Capita $807.00 $4,045.00 $4,363.00 21 No change
State Government Debt as a Percent of Gross State Product 1.48% 6.28% 6.13% 27 -1