Lawmakers still turn blind eye toward our pension debt

MAY 14, 2024 | ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER | by Steven Greenhut

When arguing about whether the Treasury needed to take urgent action to deal with soaring federal debt in the 1980s, the late former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Herb Stein coined Stein’s Law. It was simple and obvious: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

Walters: California’s descent into government secrecy

MAY 2, 2024 | THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | by Dan Walters

California’s shortcomings in transparency have not gone unnoticed outside the state. An organization called Truth in Accounting, which monitors financial information management across the nation, just issued a 50-state score card on transparency and California scored third from the bottom.

Financial Transparency Score 2024

APRIL 23, 2024

Truth in Accounting has once again created a transparency score for the financial reporting by state governments to encourage the publication of transparent and accurate government financial information.

Californians are on the hook for Sacramento’s profligacy


"Another scorecard ranked California one of the worst states financially. Truth in Accounting’s 14th annual Financial State of the States report scored California 42nd among the 50 states.

28 States Didn’t Have Enough Money to Cover Their Bills in Fiscal 2022: Report

DECEMBER 24, 2023 | PENNSYLVANIA DAILY STAR | by Bethany Blankley

"In fiscal 2022, 28 states didn’t have enough revenue to pay all of their bills, according to the 14th annual Financial State of the States report, published by the Chicago-based nonprofit Truth in Accounting.

The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the fiscal health of all 50 states based on the latest available data from states’ fiscal year 2022 annual comprehensive financial reports.

New Jersey ranked last for having the worst fiscal health and the greatest taxpayer burden. Not far behind was Connecticut, followed by Illinois, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Kentucky, Delaware, Louisiana, California and Vermont in the bottom ten.

By contrast, 22 states reported surpluses, the majority of which are led by Republican governors."


LA controller to city officials: You aren't spending enough

DECEMBER 24, 2023 | THE CENTER SQUARE | by Tom Gantert

"(The Center Square) - The city of Los Angeles' controller had a message for city officials: you aren’t spending enough.

The controller put out a recent report for 2023 that said while spending has increased 35% over the past six years, the city isn’t spending all of its revenues.

"The City is not spending what it is budgeting for which means less services, resources, and infrastructure are being provided for Angelenos," the controller’s October report stated."

Hot off the Press! The State Report is Out: How Did Your State Do???

DECEMBER 10, 2023

Now Available

Our annual report on state fiscal health. Debt among the states improved slightly. Going from $1.2 trillion down to $938.6 billion. 

What happened? 

How did your state do? Read the full report below.

Accounting is a methodology for measuring value. It's the process of identifying, measuring, and communicating economic information to enable well-informed assessments and choices for those who rely on the informationgood accounting matters!  


Financial State of the States 2022

OCTOBER 24, 2022

This year's report found that 31 states did not have enough money to pay all of their bills.

City Combined Taxpayer Burden Report 2022

MAY 24, 2022

Did you know that many cities, such as Chicago and Los Angeles, do not include the financial information of their school districts and other underlying entities in their financial reports and budgets? The result is taxpayers are on the hook for far more debt than they know. To provide a more complete picture of the 10 most populous U.S. cities including their largest underlying government units, Truth in Accounting has released its annual City Combined Taxpayer Burden report.

Twelve Out of Fifteen California Cities Don’t Have Money to Pay their Bills According to Accounting Study

FEBRUARY 22, 2022 | CALIFORNIA POLICY CENTER | by Brandon Ristoff

Includes: "Truth in Accounting recently released their 2022 “Fiscal State of the Cities.” The report examines the balance sheets of the seventy-five largest U.S. cities, including fifteen California cities, which it analyzed using 'Full Accrual Calculations and Techniques. ... a dozen California cities are in the red. Sacramento, Santa Ana, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Anaheim have between $4,300 and $6,600 of tax burden per taxpayer."

California financial audit arrives a year late and raises flags about unemployment benefits paid

FEBRUARY 8, 2022 | REASON | by Marc Joffe

Includes: "California's 2020 annual comprehensive financial report took 583 days to produce. ... According to data from Truth in Accounting, the median U.S. state produced its 2020 annual comprehensive financial report 184 days after the end of its fiscal year. By contrast, California took 583 days, nearly 20 months, to file its annual comprehensive financial report for fiscal year 2020. "

Annual Comprehensive Financial Report 2020


Includes: "Basis for Disclaimer of Opinion on the Unemployment Programs Fund . . . The Employment Development Department has inadequate internal control over its accounting of money it received and spent related to unemployment benefits. As a result, the department was unable to provide complete and accurate accounting information supporting transfers from  … "

California budget surplus is big enough to give every resident $1,100 stimulus check, state lawmaker says

FEBRUARY 7, 2022 | KTLA-TV | by Tracy Bloom, Ashley Zavala

Includes: "As California mulls whether to possibly send another round of stimulus checks to deal with a massive projected budget surplus, one state lawmaker on Wednesday made the case for more tax rebates."

California’s Fiscal Outlook


Includes: "Despite the ongoing global pandemic and its disparate health and economic impacts on Californians, revenues are growing at historic rates and we estimate the state will have a $31 billion surplus ... " Sheila's note: I guess they don't consider the $107.5 billion unfunded pension liability and the $113.9 billion of unfunded retiree health liability "committments."

California in a league of its own for delinquent financial reporting

JANUARY 14, 2022 | THE BOND BUYER | by Keeley Webster

By Keeley Webster, includes “… ‘Boomer retirements could be a factor,’ said Marc Joffe, a senior analyst with the Reason Foundation. ‘But, whatever the excuse, it is totally unacceptable that the biggest entity in the municipal market is over nine months late in filing audited financial statements. ”

High pension risk in Lompoc affects the future of public projects citywide


By Ron Fink, includes “… The Santa Barbara County grand jury investigated the health of the CalPERS system; its conclusion wasn’t very optimistic for us taxpayers. … Should employees worry about receiving their retirement benefits? The short answer is no, since taxpayers subsidize their retirement fund from taxes collected to provide services, and more funds would be diverted from tangible improvements to CalPERS.” 

How high will California’s taxes go before there’s no one left to tax?

JANUARY 13, 2022 | REASON | by Joseph Bishop-Henchman, Andrew Wilford

By Joseph Bishop-Henchman and Andrew Wilford, includes “A proposed constitutional amendment, ACA 11, would accomplish the unlikely goal of making the taxes that California currently demands from its residents look restrained. ”

California’s new, centralized fiscal system will miss its target again

JANUARY 6, 2022 | CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR | by Michael Tilden

By Michael Tilden, includes “This report follows up on significant concerns raised in our previous assessments on the development and implementation of the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal). … For the third consecutive year, the State will issue late financial statements, resulting in part from state agencies’ challenges in using FI$Cal. ”

California’s $1 billion accounting program delayed again, could affect state credit

JANUARY 6, 2022 | THE SACRAMENTO BEE | by Wes Venteicher

By Wes Venteicher, includes “The update would have helped the Controller’s Office compare FI$Cal data to data in its legacy system to help ensure accuracy as the office prepares the state’s annual comprehensive financial statements, according to the report. … Started in 2005, the project has been repeatedly delayed and costs have increased.”

DOL seeks to roll back protections against ESG


By Thomas Savidge, includes “… These problems have plagued the California Public Employees’ Retirement System … and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System … for the past two decades, leaving millions of dollars in foregone investments on the table because the funds chose to divest from funds such as firearms, tobacco and fossil fuels.” 

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