Budget & Tax

The importance of financial reporting

July 12, 2009

Tom Daxon says his two new studies-one published by OCPA in April (PDF here), the other published this month (PDF here)-are the most important things he's ever done.

Now that's a pretty startling statement, coming as it does from the guy who saved Orange County, California-bringing the Golden State's financial behemoth back from bankruptcy to solvency and accountability, repaying debtors, and restoring a positive credit rating without a tax increase.

This is the same fellow who was Gov. Frank Keating's go-to guy on budgeting and accounting when I was in the legislature in the 1990s. As a young man, in 1978, Daxon was the first Republican elected Oklahoma's Auditor and Inspector. He replaced a discredited and uncertified accounting system and produced the first-in-America state comprehensive accounting report.

Daxon's new studies on government accounting practices document some frightening fiscal problems in Oklahoma. If this sounds arcane or makes your eyes start to glaze over, join the club: As Daxon knows, even the "experts" are confused. Those we pay to understand government spending don't know what they're dealing with-so it's no wonder the rest of us are confused!

We at OCPA believe these new studies will soon be considered seminal in forcing true transparency in government. Indeed, Daxon is in Washington, D.C. even now sharing his ideas with key leaders who are concerned about transparency in government financial reporting. Stay tuned.