The California State Controller Betty Yee has plenty of time for distance work, by not actually completing the certified annual audit of the state’s finances. Illinois was delayed last year but got its in before California – which is still delinquent.
This elicited a stern letter from David Crane, President of Govern For California:
California is the only state that has not yet published a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year that ended more than 12 months ago. That means the latest official data about the state is more than two years old — and as of today the state’s website still characterizes that old data as “NEW!,” sad irony from the state that houses the world’s most data-driven enterprises. Enterprises fly blind without current data and organizations like ours desire current data with which to evaluate current state performance.
Non-governmental organizations are required to file on time. Taxpayers are required to pay taxes on time. The State of California should issue financial reports on time. Please help make that happen.
In July, Controller Yee sent out a mass email touting what a well-oiled machine the Controller’s office is, even during the COVID crisis:
Controller’s Team Keeps Government Wheels Turning with Enhanced Worker Safety
Workplace dynamics have fundamentally shifted in just five months as business, academic, nonprofit, and government leaders work to maintain critical functions while protecting their greatest resource: the people whose labor makes those functions possible.
As chief fiscal officer of the world’s fifth-largest economy, Betty Yee and her team are responsible for providing essential government services that tens of millions of people depend on. The State Controller’s Office (SCO) receives an average of 8,400 claims for payment each day and distributes approximately 49 million payments each year including payroll for state government, courts, and California State Universities; retirement benefits; income tax refunds; and payments to thousands of local government entities, Medi-Cal providers, equipment vendors, service contractors, and more.
The State Controller’s primary obligation is to be “responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources.”
The Controller is also “Responsible for auditing all funds disbursed by the state and all claims presented for payment to SCO. Performs independent audits of government agencies that spend state funds.”
Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), the only Certified Public Accountant in the State Legislature needs that CAFR in order to perform the oversight he and his team are known for.
In June, Moorlach addressed the late CAFR:
It’s June 8th, do you know where your state’s June 30, 2019 CAFR is?
Did you know that 49 of the 50 nation’s states have completed and published their annual audited financial statements? Even the state of Illinois has finally filed theirs. Illinois was last year’s laggard. Which state will be the last to issue their managerial reports for the year ended June 30 of last year, or nearly 12 months ago? You guessed it — California.
When the State Controller’s Office was asked about the long overdue public notification of the status of California’s balance sheet, can you guess what their excuses are?
We were informed that the Secretary of State’s office and the State Water Resources Control Board have not yet given their data to the Controller.
Can you imagine? The Secretary of State? A department run by an independently elected statewide official is late? The same department that had faulty software in place when motor voter was initiated? The same department that will be overseeing the state’s first all mail-in ballot process in November?
While the Controller’s office is responsible for many important functions, how can the Controller audit other state agencies with any real authority when they don’t prioritize their own Comprehensive Annual Financial Report enough to get it done on time?
As Moorlach said, “You can’t blame COVID-19 when the other 49 states, including New York, have issued their CAFRs.”