Wednesday, October 26, 2022

'Truth in Accounting' ranks Tennesse 7th best managed state with a truly balanced budget and a Taxpayer Surplus of $5,800.

by Rod Williams, Oct. 26, 2022- The nonpartisan accounting watchdog organization, Truth in Accounting (TIA), released its thirteenth annual ‘Financial State of the States’ report on Tuesday describing the weak financial condition of many states. Thirty-one of our nation's 50 states do not have enough money to pay their bills. Luckily, Tennessee is not one of them. 

Forty-nine of the fifty states have a requirement that the state balance its budget but states avoid doing so by fuzzy accounting. Basically, state elected officials do not include the true cost of government in their budget calculations. States balance budgets by using accounting tricks such as the following:

  • Inflating revenue assumptions
  • Counting borrowed money as income 
  • Understating the true costs of government
  • Delaying the payment of current bills until the start of the next fiscal year so they aren’t included in the budget calculations 

In their report, TIA divides the amount of funds needed to pay bills by the number of state taxpayers to produce what it calls the Taxpayer Burden. If a state has money available after all bills are considered, that surplus amount is likewise divided by the number of taxpayers to come up with the Taxpayer Surplus. The states are then ranked based on these calculations.  Tennessee is ranked as the seventh most financially responsible state in the nation with a Taxpayer Surplus of $5,800.

Below are pages from the report regarding Tennessee:

For more on the methodology of TIA, a ranking of the states, and more, see the full report at this link

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