How much are city taxpayers on the hook for?

Our new City Combined Taxpayer Burden report analyzes the finances of each city, its county, state, and underlying government units. View now.

Where is Illinois' annual report?

We called the Illinois Comptroller's Office to find out when the extremely tardy comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) will be released. Watch now.

Watch now: How to read your government's CAFR

A government's comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) can be long and confusing. We break down the important sections in this new video. 

US Published National Debt


The Truth


Each Taxpayer's Share: $707,000

  • City Combined Taxpayer Burden Report 2019

    Truth in Accounting's new analysis of the 10 largest U.S. cities that includes their underlying government units. 

  • Bill's Blog

    Bill Bergman serves as TIA's Director of Research. He is responsible for managing TIA's federal project and State Data Lab's data base.  Bergman spent 13 years as an economist and policy analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

  • Financial State of the Union

    Read our newest report on the Financial State of the Union, which found that the financial condition of the U.S. government worsened by $4.5 trillion in 2018.

  • 2019 Financial State of the Cities

    Read the newest report on the fiscal health of the 75 largest U.S. cities.

  • State Data Lab

    Compare all 50 states and the 75 most populous cities using more than 300 unique data variables.

more publications
  • A true portrait of America’s finances

    May 24, 2019
    The CPA Journal

    “In late March, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the fiscal year 2018 financial report for the U.S. government. … The public reaction raised perhaps the biggest red flag, however—the report was delivered to deafening silence. … The recognition void also provides an opportunity for CPAs to advance their profession as well as the public interest. This article reviews the report and asks readers to help build public awareness and advocate better government financial reporting in the United States. …”

  • Phoenix taxpayer burden much bigger, group asserts

    May 23, 2019
    Ahwatukee Foothills News (Arizona)

    “With the prospect of Phoenix voters being asked to weigh in during a special election in August on a measure aimed at increasing accountability and transparency in Phoenix city government’s finances, a watchdog group has published a report show the debt burden on each taxpayer in the city amounts to $13,290. … Phoenix is actually better off than the other nine cities that Truth in Accounting studied … Highest is Chicago, where the taxpayer burden is a whopping $119,110 …”

  • Chicago’s new mayor inherits taxpayers facing biggest public debts of nation’s top 10 cities

    May 22, 2019
    Illinois Policy Institute

    Each Chicago taxpayer is on the hook for $119,110 worth of unfunded state, city, county and other local government debt. Many of the pensions driving those debts become Lori Lightfoot’s problem on Monday.

read more in the news

    The only 2 states that can’t afford a recession

    May 24, 2019

    “The chronic budget-balancing struggles of Illinois and New Jersey since the Great Recession have earned them a dubious distinction this week: They are the only two states not prepared to weather the next recession. … The findings are an update from the first report of this kind that Moody’s conducted three years ago. That report, which did not include pension risk and only studied the 20 most populous states, found that California and Illinois were the least-prepared.”


    Charles Millard’s pension proposals

    May 24, 2019
    Chief Investment Officer

    “The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and the pensions industry as a whole, is having some trouble.” Audio includes “The PBGC’s guarantee is applied in a different way. There spoken of as loans. When the PBGC subsidizes a multiemployer plan, they make the loan. Only the loans never get paid back.”


    Output gap nonsense

    May 7, 2019
    International Politics and Society

    “The basic idea behind ‘output gaps’ is clear enough. Monetary and fiscal policy must be benchmarked against something. It is not enough to say that fiscal policy is expansive or monetary policy is tight. … In making such judgements, our assessment depends on the gap between current output and a figure that is not directly observable — potential output. The question is how to estimate the benchmark of potential output. Since the 1960s, when the Yale economist ‘Art’ Okun first formulated the basic idea, a cottage industry has grown up calculating output gaps.”

view all stories here

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