True Oregon Taxpayer Burden is $6.6 Billion

From the Institute for Truth in Accounting

Oregon’s “Financial State of the State”

Chicago (November 17, 2010) — Today, the Institute for Truth in Accounting released Oregon’s “Financial State of the State.” After an intensive review of the State’s 2009 audited financial report the Institute determined the State is in a precarious financial position because it does not have the funds available to pay more than $6.6 billion of the State’s commitments as they come due. Each taxpayer’s share of this financial burden equals $5,600. Oregon state law requires a balanced budget and State agencies are required to reduce their expenditures if receipts are less than anticipated. “If governors and legislatures had truly balanced the State’s budget, no taxpayer’s financial burden would exist,” said Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of the Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA). Weinberg continued, “It is baffling how the State’s financial statements can report an annual loss of more than $2 billion and the budget can be ‘balanced’ at the same time.”

The Institute’s review of the financial report also revealed more than $4.1 billion of off-balance sheet retirement liabilities, because retirement plans’ liabilities are not accurately reported. The State has promised employees retirement benefits in excess $27.1 billion, but has only set aside less than $24.7 billion to fund these obligations. Therefore the State has a net pension liability of more than $2.4 billion. However, the State’s balance sheet indicates just the opposite. The State reports retirement plans are overfunded with $1.8 billion of assets in excess of liabilities.

While Oregon reported total assets of more than $37 billion, more than $19.8 billion of the State’s assets cannot be easily converted to cash to pay State bills of $23.8 billion as they come due. These assets consist of capital assets, including infrastructure, buildings and land, and assets the use of which is restricted by law or contract.

The State does not have the funds needed to pay for more than $6.6 billion of State obligations.

The Colorado “Financial State of the State”, available at www.TruthInAccounting.org and Oregon.StateBudgetWatch.org, outlines the financial situation of the state, including unfunded liabilities to the state’s retirement systems.

About the Institute for Truth in Accounting

The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) is dedicated to promoting honest, accurate, and transparent accounting at all levels of government and business. As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the IFTA works to expose accounting deficiencies while promoting better, more accessible delivery of accurate government financial data–and, in turn, providing a foundation for more informed public policy. The IFTA provides its expertise to develop more effective accounting standards and deliver accurate government financial information to policymakers, opinion leaders, and citizens, so they can all work for a more secure financial future. To learn more, please visit our website at www.TruthInAccounting.org.

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