Delaware government accounting principles
The country's three major bond-rating agencies have affirmed Delaware's triple-A ratings based, in part, on the state's strong fiscal management practices. The agencies specifically cited state officials' decisions to appropriate only 98% of available revenue for the fiscal 2010 budget, which allows for a cushion if revenues fall, and the decision to maintain the Rainy Day Fund. The agencies also praised the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council for its revenue forecasts.
In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Delaware “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. Delaware's Division of Accounting is responsible for filing the CAFR.
Accounting transparency checklist
- The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) dating back to 2000.
- An independent auditor’s report is published on page 2 of the document.
- It provides supplements to the budget workup, such as notes, starting on page 34 of the document.
- The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
- Delaware law requires a balanced budget and prohibits a deficit at the end of the year to be carried over to the following year.
- It includes all costs incurred by the government, including future liabilities on page 155 of the document.
- The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers on page 148 of the document.
- The Delaware Comptroller’s office was not precisely timely in submitting the budget.
- The CAFR is posted in PDF format, so it’s not searchable online.
- Delaware State Auditor Web site, accessed October 13, 2009
- Delaware General Assembly Web site, accessed October 13, 2009
- Gov. Jack Markell Press Release, "Delaware Receives Triple-A Rating," October 7, 2009
- Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 58
- Delaware Division of Accounting Web site, accessed October 13, 2009
- 2008 CAFR
- Delaware, Truth in Accounting
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