CSLF research associate Alex Hathaway is beginning the fourth year of the center’s work with the Volcker Alliance, a New York-based nonprofit, looking at fiscal integrity and transparency in state government in fiscal year 2019.
If all states pass balanced budgets every year, how do some find themselves in financial straits? The “balanced” part of the budget may not be as straightforward as it appears.
Looking at all of the financial pieces that affect a balanced budget and long-term sustainability, the Truth and Integrity in Government Finance project aims to make state finances more understandable, particularly to the public. The project research teams dive deep into state finances concerning forecasting practices, one-time budget maneuvers and debt issuance, pensions and other postemployment obligations, reserve fund policies and transparency practices.
Taking this comprehensive look at state budgeting practices, the Volcker Alliance aims “to help improve budget transparency and fiscal sustainability in the states, both through identifying procedures that need improvement and by providing concrete examples of best practices that states should consider adopting.”
CSLF oversees the research for ten states: Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin. After the research phase, states are graded A to D- and a report is released detailing the findings. Finally, the state data is incorporated into the Volcker Alliance’s interactive Data Lab.
Check out the Truth and Integrity project in the news: