Reform Government Accounting Standards
Many states have requirements to balance their budget every year, but because of the way they prepare financial reports, budgets that appear balanced are anything but. All too often, governments' official financial statements don’t reflect reality because they follow “cash based” accounting principles. What does that mean?
With cash-based accounting, financial reports show expenses only when money is paid, not when debt or future expenses are incurred. By only reporting cash spending, and not accumulated debt, the financial reports paint a much rosier – but far from accurate – picture of government finances.
This delusional and nontransparent approach to government accounting has had dire real-world consequences for cities, states and their citizens. When it comes time to pay the previously-hidden debt, elected officials face a sudden need to hike taxes or slash services—or both. People suffer.
The vast majority of state and local governments follow accounting standards set by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). But GASB is trying to keep this faulty accounting. They want to continue cash-basis-like financial reporting for governmental funds statements. This reporting supports bad government budgeting practices like counting borrowing proceeds as revenue, and underfunding pension funding requirements, in order to “balance budgets.”
Now is the time to advocate for common-sense reforms to government accounting and financial reporting requirements. Truth in Accounting is mobilizing experts, advocacy organizations, watchdog groups, journalists and everyday citizens to let GASB know that we’re watching and demanding that they institute FACT-based accounting standards.
Here’s how you can make your voice heard by GASB:
Email your letter, addressed to the Director of Research and Technical Activities, Project Nos. 3-20 & 3-25, to email@example.com.
Attend and speak at a GASB public hearing in person or virtually
GASB will hold a series of public hearings tentatively scheduled as follows:
March 23, 2021, in Boise, ID
March 30–31, 2021, in Atlanta, GA
April 8, 2021, in New York, NY
April 13–14, 2021, in Chicago, IL
April 20–21, 2021, in San Francisco, CA
Individuals or organizations that want to make an oral presentation are required to provide a written notification of that intent, accompanied by their written submission by February 26, 2021. This notification should be addressed to the Director of Research and Technical Activities, Project Nos. 3-20 & 3-25, and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.