State Budget Crisis Task Force Calls for National Attention to Reforms in State Budgeting and Financial Reporting
On January 14, 2014 Co-Chairs former Lt. Governor of New York Richard Ravitch and Paul A. Volcker, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve System, released the Final Report of the State Budget Crisis Task Force today after nearly three years of study, analysis and debate.
The Task Force outlined a troubling picture of the unsustainable and now perilous fiscal position of many states and their local governments across the country. As symbolized by this event being held in the Rayburn Office Building and surrounded by the Halls of Congress, the implications are national. Understanding and action by the federal government as well as the states will be required to support needed reforms.
“What is at stake,” said Co-Chair Ravitch, “is the strength of our educational institutions, of our infrastructure, our health care and judicial system, and the safety and security of our homes and streets – all of which in our federal system are heavily dependent upon the management and financial integrity of our states and their political subdivisions.”
Co-Chair Volcker added that, “We need only look to Detroit where debt was leveraged time and time again with no ability to pay, to see that reforms in financial reporting and oversight by states and localities are prudent and necessary. The ultimate victims of unsustainable, patchwork budgeting and overextended finances are the citizens dependent upon essential public services.”
The Task Force, an independent, non-partisan group of experienced participants in government, has not itself set out positions with respect to particular public policies and programs. What it does insist upon is that political and policy discussions and decisions must be made on the basis of honest, reliable budget estimates and easily accessible, comprehensive, and transparent financial data.