$19,800 per taxpayer to cover $24.7 billion shortfall
NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Institute for Truth in Accounting has released a damning “Financial State of the State” report on Louisiana’s “antiquated” accounting methods and “precarious” fiscal status. Despite a balanced budget requirement, each Louisiana taxpayer shoulders a financial burden of $19,800, as of mid-2010, their share of $24.7 billion.
The IFTA is a Chicago-based, non-partisan and non-profit organization whose members seek to promote “honest, accurate, and transparent accounting at all levels of government.” Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO, takes particular exception with a lack of commitment to balanced budget requirements.
“If governors and legislatures had truly balanced the state’s budget, no taxpayers’ financial burden would exist… A state budget is not balanced if past costs, including those for employees’ retirement benefits, are pushed into the future.”
Paul Rainwater, commissioner of administration, counters that Louisiana complies with “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) as prescribed by the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) [a non-governmental organization] and the Louisiana Revised Statutes.” However, IFTA members investigated the state employees retirement system, in addition to Louisiana’s 2010 audited financial report, and found $16.9 billion in off-balance sheet liabilities.