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.
This lack of transparency and financial integrity is harming our representative form of government. Taxpayers and voters do not have the information needed to be knowledgeable participants in their state government. Candidates and their policies are being supported based upon the wrong information.
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. These underlying entities include school districts, and transit and housing authorities that the cities claim responsibility for in their annual financial reports, but do not include in their balance sheets. These underlying governments are essentially subsidiaries of the city and the majority of their debt falls on all city taxpayers. When the unfunded debt of these underlying government units is combined with the county, municipal, and state debt, city taxpayers are on the hook for much more than they think.
New York City is an exception to the rule because its financial reports and budgets include the financial information, including debt, for its underlying entities and county.