Oregon’s $20 billion in unpaid bills

Oregon Transformation

Oregon has a constitutional requirement to have a balanced budget, which means we can only spend as much as we take in.

But the truth is Oregon does not have a balanced budget, at least not according to the Institute for Truth in Accounting, whose mission is to bring transparency to government financial reporting.

Deficient accounting rules and questionable budgeting have led to unpaid bills of $20 billion in Oregon.

That’s a $17,120 bill for every taxpayer in Oregon.

What’s more worrisome is that even if the State of Oregon liquidated every last asset at its disposal, we would still be in the hole by $3 billion.

How did we get into this mess? One reason is that state officials use antiquated budget and accounting rules to calculate the cost of government employees.

Since retirement benefits are not due immediately in cash, government accounting rules have allowed the true cost of government employees to be hidden in the notes of financial statements.

Instead of paying for the total cost of government employees, including retirement benefits in the period they are earned, government accountants, politicians and subsequently budgets have largely ignored the expense.

The private sector reformed their accounting rules over two decades ago in order to give shareholders a true accounting of the cost of their employees.

Why does Oregon government continue to use misleading numbers?  Why are they hiding our growing debt?

Sources: Institute for Truth in Accounting: A Fifty State study

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Posted by at 01:49 | Posted in State Budget | 8 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Rupert in Springfield

    In the private sector this is called a corporate raider. Someone who comes in and spends the funds set aside for pensions.

    In the public sector this is called business as usual.

    In the liberal sector, it is called social justice to question the former, and hatred to question the latter.

    In the conservative sector someone beginning to question the disparity between public and private accounting is either a new business owner, a possible convert, or both. Welcome to the dark side.

  • Chana Cox

    This discrepancy between government accounting practices and private accounting practices also leads to our massive disagreements on what is actually spent in this state on services like K-12 education. 

  • Marvin Von Renchler

    OK. Another exampole of run away government. Another example of US vs THEM, instead of  officials being of, for and by the people. So we can debate the subjects fine points but the bottom line is NO COMMON SENSE and no accountability. So, we mouth off here and express our displeasure. Then should we sit back smugly? No way. We should DO something about it. What do you wantto do about it? I say Oregon is small enough to rally the people but large enough to start a coast to coast shockwave. We should stop paying tax untill we can revamp, reshape and fire the existing bums who are ‘running’ things now. Oregon is a company. We are the stockholders/owners. We would have fired the management of a company so terribly run if it were a big restaurant.

    Why dont Sheeople do anything? Simple . Afraid of the IRS. Everyone is afraid. My God—to think a citizen of this country has to be afraid of the government. Think about that.

  • valley person

    Sounds scary. What does it mean exactly? I tried the link and it simply repeated the claim, then referred me back to Catalyst.

    Does it mean the current budget is off by $20 billion? Or what exactly?

    • JoelinPDX

      I went to the link and found a very nice one page synopsis of Oregon’s budget problems. No link back to OC. It’s no wonder you’re always coming up with BS links.

      Yep VP, it’ll be fine with you if we leave billions of dollars in debt for out kids. Near sighted liberals truly amaze me.

  • Anonymous

    Let us not forget the legislature passed a law requring the debt to P E R S is to have priority of all other spending in this states budget.

  • JoelinPDX

    Why does Oregon government continue to use misleading numbers?” 

    Pretty simple answer really. Just look at which party has controlled the governor’s office for almost 30 years. Clue: It begins with D and rhymes with enocrat.

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