The state of Mississippi received a high score in a recent released report on financial reporting by the states.
The non-partisan group Truth in Accounting released a ranking of the comprehensive annual financial reports released by state governments and Mississippi’s report, which is put together by the state Department of Finance and Administration, received an score of 88 out of 100. This put the state in a three-way tie for second-best nationally with Idaho and Maryland.
These annual reports detail the balance sheet of the states, including government spending, pension liabilities and tax revenue.
The report used the following methodology:
- Each CAFR required a clean opinion from an independent auditor, which also applied to each state’s pension plan or plans and was worth 50 points. Mississippi was one of only 14 states that used outside certified public accounting firms to audit their reports.
- Ten points were awarded for including a net position not distorted by misleading deferred items.
- Reporting all pension liabilities on the balance sheet netted the state 10 points.
- Ten points were awarded for being published within 100 days of the end of the fiscal year.
- Five points apiece were awarded for online accessibility, searchability with useful links in the table of contents, an audit of financial statements by an independent auditor who is not an employee of the government and a measurement of the pension liabilities using the same dates covered in the CAFR.
Mississippi received the full 50 points for an outside auditor, nine points out of a possible 10 for deferred items, a perfect 10 for off-balance sheet liabilities, a seven out of 10 for timeliness, a four out of 10 score for accessibility and another four for navigation, two out of 5 possible points for external auditors and two points for pension data timing.
New York and Utah were top ranked as their annual financial reports both earned scores of 89 out of 100.
Mississippi scored better than all of its neighbors. Alabama received a score of 83, while Tennessee scored an 82. Louisiana (80) and Arkansas (77) were the next two worst in the Southeast besides North Carolina, which only managed a score of 55.
Connecticut was the lowest rated CAFR with a total score of 49, along with North Carolina (55), Vermont (56), New Mexico (65) and Alaska (69).