BREAKING NEWS: Pension Debt Swamps L.A. County Balance Sheet

Thursday, March 3, 2016
Pension Debt Swamps L.A. County Balance Sheet

L.A. Debt Jumps From $8 Billion to $17 Billion

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Other Counties Also Doing the 'GASB Gasp'


GASB ("GAZ-bee") and CAFR ("CAF-er") are two of 2016's most important acronyms. That's because the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) mandated that, beginning this year, governments must report unfunded public employee pension liabilities on their audited balance sheets in their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR). 

As the fiscal year 2014/15 CAFRs start rolling out, pension debts are swamping local government balance sheets.  Here are a few recent unrestricted net assets (deficit) examples:

Los Angeles County

Went from <$8.2 billion> net deficit FY 2013/14 to <$16.8 billion> net deficit FY 2014/15

Santa Clara County

Went from <$752 million> net deficit FY 2013/14 to <$3 billion> net deficit FY 2014/15

Orange County

Went from $330 million net assets in FY 2013/14 to <$2.9 billion> net deficit FY 2014/15

With California's 58 counties, 482 cities, 1,000's of local government agencies, and the State of California due to report CAFRs in the coming weeks, California’s cumulative net worth could decline by a half trillion-dollars.

Everyone will be doing the 'GASB gasp.'