An annual audit of the state’s finances found that officials had double-counted over $750 million dollars. And that’s not the first time something like this has happened.
That’s the most striking finding from an audit of the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which gives a detailed picture of the state’s fiscal situation, for the fiscal year that ended in mid-2016.
Auditors gave the report a “disclaimer of opinion,” which means there are significant enough problems that they cannot give a valid opinion on the report.[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The state’s best environmental coverage.
This is the fourth consecutive year that auditors gave the CAFR a disclaimer of opinion.
The report, which was due Feb. 15 but not submitted until mid-June, showed state agencies were reporting money they received from the Land Grant Permanent Fund in their financial statements—which, in addition with the accounting of the fund itself amounting to double-counting hundreds of millions of dollars.
“While many of the accounting conventions used by agencies appear rational at a parochial level, they may not be aligned with the appropriate way of reporting the activity from a statewide perspective,” Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Duffy Rodriguez wrote in a letter attached to the CAFR.
This was changed, according to State Auditor Tim Keller, in late June 2017 when State Controller Ronald C. Spilman decided to account for the Land Grant Permanent Fund “as an asset within a governmental fund in the department level financial statements of the State Investment Council.” At the same time, the controller ordered other agencies to stop reporting the permanent fund as an asset.
“The audit highlights a number of areas in which our state continues to be unable to provide an aggregate financial snapshot to policymakers and the public,” Keller said in a statement. “Specifically, with regard to the double counting of over $750 million by higher education funds and the Land Grant Permanent Fund, our office called on the state to resolve the issue,” he added. “We are encouraged that a plan is in place to properly account for the billions in the Fund moving forward. We will continue to push the state towards achieving a timely and accurate snapshot of finances.”
The Article was originally published on Report shows state was double-counting permanent fund money for years