Bad accounting has helped Illinois politicians avoid balancing the budget for 20 years, despite a constitutional requirement to pass a balanced budget each year. Government accounting standards that fail to offer transparency and accuracy in financial reporting have also contributed to the state’s $260 billion pension crisis, the primary reason Illinois has the lowest credit rating any state has ever received.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board has proposed changes it calls “improvements” to the accounting standards for governments. However, watchdog groups such as Truth in Accounting have criticized the proposed changes and urged the adoption of more stringent standards that would require governments to balance their budgets the way most businesses are required to do. Illinois has grown accustomed to using lax accounting methods to hide its budget deficits, racking up debt year after year. The state’s taxpayers would benefit from tougher standards that impose fiscal discipline.
Author(s): Justin Carlson
Publication Date: 19 February 2021
Publication Site: Illinois Policy Institute