Illinois is the only state in America that has yet to release its official report from fiscal year 2018 and state officials don’t yet know when it will be released.
Every state, most cities, and other forms of government must have a comprehensive annual financial report, or CAFR, done as a way for not only citizens to better understand their local government finances, but also to give officials a better idea on the baseline costs for upcoming budgets.
Illinois is often one of the last states to finish its report and this year, state officials have yet to do it, making it the latest since 2011 when Comptroller-turned Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes released it on June 30, 2012, a full year after the fiscal year ended.
“Illinois is, by far, the latest state to distribute its comprehensive annual financial report for 2018, which is a fiscal year that almost ended 365 days ago,” said Bill Bergman, research director for Truth in Accounting. “And here we are doing budgeting without CAFRs.”
The report is released by the comptroller’s office, but must first have the budgetary numbers audited by the Illinois Auditor General.
“The auditor general still has pending audits and until those financial statements are finalized, the comptroller cannot complete the Fiscal Year 2018 CAFR,” said Abdon Pallach, spokesman for Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. “No date of issuance has been determined until this process is completed.”
The auditor general’s office said it was not able to project any release dates.
A 2011 report from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, which dictates best practices for many functions in public governance, found the average amount of time it took for a state to release a CAFR was less than 7 months.
In surveys, GASB found that the information released via these reports “diminishes quickly” in value after six months. Bondholders often use the information found in CAFRs to gauge the creditworthiness of a unit of government before bidding on an offering, which Illinois plans to do soon.
Lawmakers also have not passed formal revenue estimates for several years.