Last week KRWG’s Anthony Moreno interviewed Truth In Accounting’s Sheila Weinberg, who explained why the Land of Enchantment performs abysmally when it comes to “how transparent [states] are to the public about their finances.”
TIA’s recent “Financial Transparency Score Report” placed New Mexico just one slot above last-place Connecticut on “a range of transparency indicators.” Weinberg told Moreno that the state has been “historically issuing its financial statement late,” with a jaw-dropping 426-day tardiness for its fiscal 2012 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), and a not-much-improved 342-day delay for fiscal 2016. (The standard for governmental entities is 180 days, TIA’s founder and CEO noted, with private corporations abiding by a 45-day standard.)
As Governing noted a few years ago, CAFRs are “dense,” with “a mind-numbing array of charts, graphs and number columns” — and only “the hardiest of souls” explore them. It’s in the job description for policy wonks, though, and the Rio Grande Foundation annually does a deep dive into the latest tome. But as Weinberg argued, taxpayers willing to tackle CAFRs deserve to get them in a timely and accessible manner. For a long time now, that hasn’t been a option in New Mexico. Something that Governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham’s nominee to head the Department of Finance and Administration should address, quickly.