Wait? What? New report ranks Pa. 85/100 for financial reporting practices | Friday Morning Coffee

March 6, 2020 7:06 am

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

In news that will surely come as a surprise to, well, everyone, a new report ranks Pennsylvania 14th nationwide for its financial transparency, awarding the state a score of 85/100 for its bookkeeping skills.

Yes, we’re talking about the Pennsylvania on the Earth you’re living on now — not the one where Jay Garrick, instead of Barry Allen, is The Flash, and Bruce Wayne hasn’t hung up his Batman cowl to become Gotham City’s police commissioner.

The rating comes from a Chicago-based group called Truth in Accounting, which used 2019 data to rate all 50 states for the transparency of their financial reporting practices.

To score a perfect 100 on the group’s grading sheet, states had to:

• “Receive a clean opinion from an independent auditor (50 points)
• “Include a net position not distorted by misleading and confusing deferred items (10 points)
• “Report all retirement liabilities on its balance sheet (statement of net position) (10 points)
• “Publish their reports within 100 days of the government’s fiscal year end (10 points)
• “Have their reports easily accessible online (5 points)
• “Publish searchable reports with useful links (5 points)
• “Be audited by an independent auditor who is not an employee of the government (5 points) and
• Pension reporting (5 points)”

The report’s release may be a pleasant surprise for policymakers, given that …

The Capital-Star’s Cassie Miller has already reported at length about the fight over supplemental appropriations that are used to shore up spending shortfalls. And this week, our colleagues over at Spotlight PA highlighted some of the transparency issues in the Legislature’s spending records.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso
 goes deep on the debate over state support for a program that helps people transition from welfare to work by providing them with the clothes they need to look professional and to compete in the job market.

In the first installment of a regular series of interviews with women running for office in 2020, Associate Editor Cassie Miller chats with Democrat Tara Shakespearewho’s running in Cumberland County’s 88th House District.

Miller also has what you need to know about President Donald Trump’s appearance in Scranton on Thursday evening for a Fox News town hall.

Pittsburgh Correspondent Kim Lyons brings you the story of ‘WTF Pittsburgh,’ a political action committee dedicated to getting women candidates elected to public office.

On our Commentary Page: Susan J. Demas, editor of our sibling site, the Michigan Advancereflects on Elizabeth Warren’s exit from the 2020 field, and what it means for women running for president in the future.

There’s only one correct choice to make when it comes to saving our institutions from the Trump White House’s ongoing assault on our institutions, your humble newsletter author opines.

Pennsylvania college students should be hungry for knowledge — but they shouldn’t be going hungry on campus, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, writes.

And, from our partners at the Central VoiceHolly Evans, president of TransCentral Pa., talks about a celebration of Pennsylvania’s transgender residents that will be held in Harrisburg later this month.  

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District (U.S. House of Representatives photo)

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District,
 has endorsed Joe Biden for president, the Inquirer reports.
The deadline for getting a REAL ID approachesPittsburgh City Paper explains what that is and how it works.
Police, activists talked about how worshippers can stay safe during an event at Harrisburg’s Jewish Community Center on Thursday, PennLive reports.
The Central Bucks School District has closed five schools because of coronavirus exposure, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM has what you need to know about a court fight over Philadelphia’s lost gun reporting ordinance.
Republican lawmakers took aim at what they said was overspending in Pennsylvania’s medical assistance program, the PA Post reports.
He’s out of the race, but former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has released a new anti-Trump ad.

Gov. Tom Wolf
 has no public schedule today.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Helping you plan ahead, here’s Saturday schedule of events:
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Rep. Maria Donatucci
6 p.m.: St. Patrick’s Day for the Bob O’Connor Foundation
7 p.m.: Birthday reception for state Sen. Anthony Williams
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a truly ridiculous $12,540 on Saturday. That’s entirely due to the $10K maximum ask at Williams’ big bash.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a long-standing favorite by The Kooks. It’s ‘She Moves in her Own Way.’

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Ugh. Carolina dropped a 4-1 decision to Philadelphia of all teams on Thursday night. Today’s a new day, fellas.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.