Mississippi government accounting principles

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The Mississippi State Auditor (dead link) is Stacey E. Pickering, elected November of 2007. The state's audit reports (dead link) are published online.[1]

Mississippi also has the Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (a standing committee created in 1973) to provide legislative oversight, which is published online:[2]

  • Performance evaluations
  • Investigations
  • Expenditure reviews

Max Arinder has been the Executive Director of the Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review since 1996.

Mississippi State Treasurer is Tate Reeves, elected November of 2003. The elected office of the State Treasurer is created under Article 5, Section 134, of the Mississippi Constitution. The Mississippi Code details the fiduciary responsibilities of the Treasurer. These responsibilities include the issuance of State debt, responsibility for the timely payment of principal and interest on the State's bond and note obligations, and receiving, disbursing and investing State funds.[3]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Mississippi “Tardy” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 23 states timely, 24 states tardy, and 3 states excessively tardy. IFTA does not consider the state's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis does not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care.[4] Mississippi's CAFRs (dead link) are published online by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor. The Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration prepares the state CAFRs.

Accounting transparency checklist

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Comprehensive Y
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Balanced budget Y
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Timeliness P
Usability P

The good

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) dating back to 1996.[5]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 13 of the document.[6]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup.[7]
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Mississippi law requires a balanced budget and a deficit is forbidden.[8]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including long-term liabilities, starting on page 71 of the document.[6]
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 94 of the document.[6]

The bad

  • The Mississippi office was somewhat tardy in submitting the budget.
  • The CAFR is posted in a PDF format, so it’s not searchable online.

External links