New York government accounting principles

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The Office of the State Comptroller audits state agencies, public authorities, and all local governments in New York State, including New York City. The Comptroller's audit reports are published online. Thomas P. DiNapoli has been New York State Comptroller since February 2007. The State Comptroller is New York State's chief fiscal officer. The breadth and scope of its responsibilities are unique among the states including:[1]
  • Managing the State's assets and issuing General Obligation debt;
  • Conducting management and financial audits of State agencies and public benefit corporations;
  • Issuing reports on State finances;
  • Overseeing the fiscal affairs of local governments, including New York City;
  • Reviewing State contracts, payrolls and payments before they are issued;
  • Maintaining the State's accounting system and issuing monthly cash financial statements;
  • Overseeing the Justice Court and Abandoned Property Programs; and
  • Operating the retirement systems for State and local retirees, valued at $140.5 billion as of March 2006.
  • To ensure independence, the Comptroller Office's leadership has been placed under a Statewide-elected Comptroller, selected separately from the Governor.

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated New York “Timely” 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.[2] New York's CAFRs are prepared and published online by the New York Office of the State Comptroller FY 2009's CAFR has been completed and publicly posted timely.[3]

New York government spending is partially transparent and currently has several transparency resources as listed below. The first two are government sponsored, while the third is sponsored by the Empire Center.

Accounting transparency checklist

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Comprehensive Y
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Balanced budget P
Partial.png
Timeliness P
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Usability P
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The good

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) dating back to 2003.[4]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 16 of the document.[5]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, starting on page 96.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • New York law requires a balanced budget, but a deficit is permitted.[6]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including long-term liabilities, starting on page 31 of the document.[5]
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 96 of the document.[5]

The bad

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

External links

References