Here's What Happened This Fall at Truth in Accounting

Weinberg Highlights Hawaii's Unseen Debt

Sheila Weinberg spoke in Hawaii on Oct. 11th on 'Government Accounting: The Seen and the Unseen -- What Needs to be Done?'

The event was convened by Hawaii Rep. Gene Ward and Rep. Barbara Marumoto.  The purpose of the briefing was to discuss the impact of the national and state debt crisis on Hawaii's future and ways to control excess government spending.  

'Hawaii's families carry the third highest per capita debt burden in the United States, more than $23,000 for every person who lives here,' noted Rep. Gene Ward who convened the briefing.

Weinberg pointed out Hawaii state government's financial situation is dire, mainly because of unfunded retirements obligations that total in the billions of dollars. The institute reports that based on the state's latest financial data (2009), Hawaii is rated as the 4th worst "sinkhole" state. Each person here - a state with just under 1.3 million residents - carries over $25,000 in debt from past government spending. There is a per capita burden of $8,872 for Hawaii annually, which is in addition to the $25,000 per person owed for state debt.  (Photo courtesy of Melvin Ah Ching Productions.) 

Click here to view Weinberg's presentation to the Hawaii Legislature.

Hon. David M. Walker presents with Truth in Accounting in Chicago

On October 17th, Hon. David M. Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General, Senator Mark Kirk (R) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D) spoke at a Truth in Accounting/Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce luncheon titled, 'Fiscally Speaking: Putting Our Federal Finances in Order.'  The speakers discussed federal decifit reduction proposals suggested by the Simpson-Bowles Commission and possible initiatives by the Congressional Deficit-reduction 'Super Committee'.

Congressman Quigley told reporters, 'You see the workings behind the scenes.  A lot of Repubicans and Democrats are working together to solve the problem.'

Also on October 17th, David Walker and Sheila Weinberg held a classroom presentation for DePaul University students and faculty about the effects of large federal, state and local deficits on young adults.  Addressing a bar chart on rising government deficits, Walker told the students, 'In the future, young people will face a government which will do less, but you will still have to pay more in taxes.' Click here to view PBS Nightly Business Report coverage of the DePaul University presentation.

Visit the homepage for complete press coverage of the October 17th events.

GASB Proposes Significant Improvement to Pension Reporting

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board unveiled a pension accounting proposal in July that would fundamentally alter how state and local governments report pension liabilities. GASB said it had approved the proposed standards, dubbed exposure drafts, which would lead to "significant improvements" in the usefulness of pension information.

GASB's latest guidance would require governments to report the unfunded portion of their retirement plans as a liability on their balance sheets. The board is also proposing to change the formula states and localities use to convert projected pension benefit payments into present value, based on an assumed "discount rate."

Sheila Weinberg presented comments on the exposure draft at a hearing in Rosemont, IL on October 21st.  Financial reporting under this new guidance would produce reporting similar to information provided in the Institute's recently released 'Financial State of the States' Report. Click here to read the GASB Exposure Draft on Pension Reporting and Accounting.

Truth in Accounting 'Financial State of the States' Report Issued

The Institute's 'Financial State of the States' report is now available by download (click here) or in print. 

For more information on how to obtain a printed copy of the report, contact Darlene Porteus at