Flemming: Vermont gets third worst financial transparency score in country

By David Flemming

Truth in Accounting ranked Vermont 48th out of 50 states in terms of financial transparency. The ranking is a composite score based on eight criteria of different weights.

Vermont scored decently well in “timeliness” of publishing, receiving a seven out of 10 possible points. We also got 10 out of 10 points for “Off-Balance Sheet Liabilities,” but every New England state received a perfect score there as well.

In terms of accessibility, we were nearly perfect with four out of five points. Then again, every New England State got a four, except Rhode Island. “Pension data timing” refers to a state measuring the net pension liability using the same date as the CAFR. Like all New England states, we scored a two out of five in this area, suggesting we can all do better at using the same data.

“Navigation” refers to a CAFR being searchable with useful links from the table of contents and bookmarks. We tied with Maine for lowest in New England, receiving a one out of five score. In the external auditors’ category, Vermont got a three out of five. Evidently, Vermont did not meet the full criteria for out CAFR being audited by an auditor who is not an employee of the government.

Finally, the big separator, Auditor Opinion. Truth in Accounting states: “Vermont received a low transparency score primarily because its pension plans do not produce separate audited financial reports. Instead, their GASB 68 reports are unaudited. As a result, we deduct 25 points from the Clean Opinion criteria, which is dependent upon opinions from both the state CAFR and the largest pension plan CAFR.”

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain
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9 thoughts on “Flemming: Vermont gets third worst financial transparency score in country

  1. Vermont also has one of the lowest ethical grades in the entire nation. D- last I checked.

    Sometimes the lack of words the lack of action by elected officials show their hearts and minds.

    Vermomt, here is your. Sign (courtesy Jeff Foxworthy)

    Or in other words, no complaints or commentary. Vermont is worse than other political realms, at least there our President says “All talk. No action!” We don’t even talk!

  2. Complete disgrace. Interestingly Auditor Opinion would refer to Hoffer? If so he’s not what he purports and should be shcanned as he’s part of how VT arrived at this low point. Doesn’t want to offend his Dem friends tho he’s a Bernie acolyte and loyal Prog.

    • Tom one of the biggest reasons I left VT was the huge tax burden. Now in a sate with a much lower cost of living and lower tax burden it’s been a boom for my wallet. I can now save for my kids educations, something of a pipe dream living in VT. Why you folks continue to put up with it is beyond me.

  3. Extremely urgent is the vast underfunding of Teacher’s and Gov’t workers retirement, with health care
    I don’t see that in this analysis. Bean counting alone is not good financial management

    We need a new Treasurer who can light an inferno under the Legislature’s butts.
    We also need to renegotiate conditions of employment – to be more affordable for the “civilian citizens”

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