Like a lot of American households, state governments have begun to lighten up on credit.
For the first time in nearly 30 years, the overall level of state debt outstanding fell last year, according to the latest annual survey by Moody's, which issues credit ratings for state and local government bonds.
And the pace of new borrowing will likely continue to ease, according to the report.
"States continue to be reluctant to take on new debt with tight operating budgets, a slow economic recovery, and uncertainty over federal fiscal policy," analysts at New York-based Moody's said in the report. "We expect debt levels to remain stable or even decline again in 2015."
Overall, state taxpayers were on the hook for $509.6 billion last year, down 1.2 percent, according the survey. That's the first drop in the 28 years the survey has been conducted.
The easing debt burden wasn't uniform, though. While the median level of tax-supported state debt fell to $1,102 per person, some states have much higher debt loads. Connecticut tops the list with nearly $5,500 in debt per person. Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey and New York are in the top five, with $3,000 of debt per person in each state.
Nebraska, by contrast, has tax-supported debt of just $10 per person. (The figures don't include debt that is backed by cash flows from sources other than taxes or general revenues, such as highway tolls.)