Rhode Island ranks 18th in fiscal transparency
Rhode Island earned a score of 82 in a report on fiscal transparency from a national watchdog organization.
Truth in Accounting released its Financial Transparency Scores 2021 report that scores states on how transparent and accurate financial information is reported at the end of a fiscal year.
CARES Act funding highlighted weak spots in states’ unemployment insurance funds, according to the report, which caused many states to receive poorer scores. Other scoring factors include timeliness or reporting and the use of outdated pension information.
Rhode Island earned 50 points for having a clean audit through an independent auditor, and then earned seven out of a 10 possible points for deferred items on the balance sheet that were not misleading or unclear. The state earned a full 10 points for having reported all off-balance sheet liabilities with its pension funding.
According to the report, the state earned four points each for timeliness and accessibility of information and five points for navigation on websites where the information is posted. However, Rhode Island received zero points because it did not use an external auditor who is not a state employee but did earn two points for pension data timing. The report uses the gold standard of fiscal reports being filed within 180 days of the close of the fiscal year.
Utah ranked first in the 2021 report, with a total score of 88 points. Colorado was the least transparent state in the country, with a 46 score. The most points a state can earn is 100.
Neighboring states Connecticut and Vermont were the most improved in the 2021 report, each gaining 25-point gains due to the states having the largest pension plans’ annual reports that received clean audit opinions.
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