Weinberg on Fox Chicago Sunday says 'Illinois is Bankrupt!':
Weinberg told Fox Chicago Sunday commentators the sobering news which everyone should know: Illinois is bankrupt and over $100 billion in debt which translates to about $25,000 per taxpayer. The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) issued the Illinois 'Financial State of the State' Report which revealed the state has only $20 billion of assets to cover a $120.6 billion financial shortfall. The study showed that in addition to $29 billion of bond debt, Illinois has a total of over $89 billion in unfunded state pension and health care obligations.
For decades, Illinois lawmakers and governors have failed to set aside enough money for pensions and state health care obligations. In recent years, they've made matters worse by skipping some pension payments altogether and borrowing money to make others.
This past summer, Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes admitted the state did not have $5 billion to pay bills that were due. In a New York Times interview, Hynes stated, 'This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services. That is obscene.'
The Chicago Sun-Times also covered IFTA's Illinois 'Financial State of the State'. Terry Savage, Sun-Times columnist asked her readers this question: 'What services and benefits do we need and want from the state, and are we willing to pay for them?'
50 State Study Recommends Financial Reporting Timeliness, Standardization, Disclosure:
As a part of The Truth in Balanced Budgets study the Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) has been studying the financial reporting practices of all fifty states over three fiscal years. The Institute is completing Phase II of this study by analyzing each state's financial condition including the massive debt owed to state retirement benefit systems, including pension plans. 'Financial State of the State' Reports may be found on StateBudgetWatch.org.
The study recommends that state financial reports should be issued within 180 days of the fiscal year end, and state actuarial reports should be available to outside analysts. Retirement systems' exhibits and notes should be standardized
Concerning pension valuation, the actuarial valuation of assets and liabilities should also be standardized and valued on a more current basis. The valuation dates of the pensions should be synchronized with the financial report filing dates. Pension funds are valued with discount rates that loosely translate into rates of return required to meet the actuarial projections, and these rates of return should be prominently disclosed.
IFTA is now beginning an outreach program to provide our states with these study results. The Institute is rolling out the results to state policy groups, legislators and the media through press releases, printed and electronic tri-folds and face-to-face meetings and workshops. These workshops, titled the 'F.I.S.C.A.L. Tour', will be presented to the states during 2011.
Truth in Accounting Launches 'F.I.S.C.A.L. Tour' Across America:
Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) realizes that it is not enough to point out the accounting errors in federal and state budgeting but one must also educate the public about the importance of truthful accounting and promote industry standards for both the public and private sectors. This is accomplished via our website and through our programs and outreach at both the federal and state level.
IFTA is currently rolling out its 'F.I.S.C.A.L Tour' project, which stands for 'Financial Integrity Standards Conference & Laboratory.' The launch will include presenting the financial 'State of the State' information to key states across the country, with a targeted audience of legislators, state finance employees, local Chamber of Commerce members, journalists and state policy leaders. On the agenda for early 2011 are Colorado and Kansas, and we plan on taking the F.I.S.C.A,L. Tour to every region of the U.S.. The goal of the tour is to train citizens and lawmakers on understand their governments' financial condition and and use this knowledge at all levels of government, including federal, state, city, municipal and school board.
We are actively seeking association with public interest groups in each state to host and cosponsor the F.I.S.C.A.L. in their state. IFTA staff is also working to education state legislators around the country about the Truth in Accounting Act.
Weinberg Discusses 'Political Math' with Illinois Reps:
Illinois Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-83rd) recently announced her complete support of the Truth in Accounting Act, which would require greater transparency during the state budget process. Rep. Chapa LaVia's announcement came after a recent meeting at her Aurora office with Sheila Weinberg. Chapa LaVia emphasized, 'We need this tool, the Truth in Accounting Act, to give us the transparency that the Governor, every legislator and citizen needs. I will be co-sponsoring this bill because the citizens, who are the Illinois stockholders, deserve better.'
Weinberg also recently met with Illinois Rep. Sid Mathias (R-53rd) and U.S. Congressman-elect (10th District) Robert Dold.At these meetings Weinberg asked the following questions: How can you, as our elected officials, make financial plans for our country and state, if you don't know where we stand? How can you manage government programs, if you don't know how much these programs truly cost? And how can future government benefits be managed, if they aren't even measured?
Robert Dold echoed Weinberg comments stating, 'The real budget deficit numbers are staggering.' Representatives Mathias and Chapa LaVia were informed about the more than $80 billion in state pension and health care liabilities that are not recorded on the state's books.
Legislative Workshop Scheduled with Illinois Rep. Karen May (D-58th District) on December 13:
On December 13, IFTA will hold a legislative workshop at the Highwood offices of Illinois Rep. Karen May (D-58th District).
Sheila Weinberg will be discussing the status of the Illinois budget shortfall, and the Institute's work on the state of Illinois finances. Weinberg will also discuss the state of the Truth in Accounting Act in the Illinois legislature.
Won't You Help Fund Our Effort to Bring 'the Truth' to Your State?:
During the majority of 2010 the Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) undertook a detailed study which found that nearly all states use accounting principles for budgeting and reporting that are misleading and effectively, untruthful. Because of that, we have become convinced that a key reason for the woeful condition into which many states have fallen are these accounting practices. Essentially, they exaggerate revenues, ignore expenses and delay disclosure, enabling state legislatures to evade constitutional and statutory spending restrictions.
To draw attention and help solve this fiscal crisis, the Institute is undertaking a series of state-based seminars that present the fiscal facts to legislators, voters and the media. Each seminar will last 90 minutes and be offered in multiple major cities within each state. Each state-based seminar will:
Expose IFTA's financial findings that are relevant to all 50 state's accounting practices;
Discuss the causes of the financial distress; and
Compare how that individual state compares to its neighbors.
In addition, IFTA will work with officials in each state to encourage them to adopt the Truth in Accounting Act, which will make it a law to balance state budgets using standard accounting principles.
Won't you help fund our efforts to bring the truth to your state? (The Institute for Truth in Accounting is a registered non-for-profit organization and all contributions are tax-deductible).
A gift of $25.00 will help us email your state's Financial State of the State to media outlets and legislators in your state.
A gift of $50.00 will enable us to mail your state's Financial State of the State to 50 of your state's legislators.
A gift of $100.00 will allow us to recruit top policy and budget experts to address attendees at a F.I.S.C.A.L. seminar; and
A gift of $250.00 will pay for the printing of 500 manuals that will guide seminars' attendees to implement truthful budgeting and accounting.
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