Thursday, January 9, 2014

Republicans Tell Just Half of the Story When Trumpeting Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) news release (12/14/2012)
It's their annual holiday Christmas message.
Editorial:  Here's why voters need to be informed. (Eau Claire Leader Telegram, 1/9/2014)

The ups and down of accounting.

Things are looking up.  The $759.2 million surplus is reached by referring to the state's Annual Fiscal Report (AFR). That report uses cash accounting to summarize revenues and spending in the state general fund for the fiscal year ending the previous June 30, Berry explained.   

Things are looking down.  The $1.73 billion deficit is arrived at by using the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which uses something called generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).  [Emphasis added]

As the editorial notes, Republicans will focus on the good news, the green highlight, as does Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) in his online newsletter.

Rep. Nygren (R-Marinette), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, also skirts the red issue but eagerly gives a shout-out to GAAP.

Yes, the Republicans are definitely "on message".

Granted, the deficit has been reduced from $3.0 billion in 2011 to $1.73 billion in 2013, but even with their fervent worship at the altar of GAAP, Republicans are not likely to use the number highlighted in red in any of their public conversations.

And that is what concerns the Leader Telegram editorial board.  Just telling half of the story.

No comments: