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The CAFR Swindle - The Biggest Game In Town
What Government Agencies Don't Want You To Know
CAFR = Consolidated Annual Financial Report is the financial accounts for any public agency such as city council, county and state governments, and school boards. The hard numbers are in the CAFR - true reports of all accounting, flows, and holdings. Hardly anybody has heard about this document except government insiders.
BUDGET = pure fantasy, a guess, projection, goal, or forecast. For government, it is nothing more than mere hallucination and propaganda. People who develop budgets consistently guess too low and then tell us they need more money. They don't need more money - they just guessed wrong.
When media reports anything about public finance, the CAFR is what they should be talking about, but they only seem to talk about this thing called the budget. In accounting terms, the budget is reffered to as "Inferrior" and the CAFR is referred to as "Superior."
Suppose the school district has a billion dollars in the CAFR, but tell you they have no budget for "critical capital expenses." That's ok, that may be exactly correct. They have a bunch of money but have budgeted nothing for these critical capital expenses. This has nothing to do with any shortage of funds, rather it is simply a failure to budget (plan or forecast) for these critical expenses. It is simply a budget decsion (or lack thereof).