Statement of Cook County upon release of 2016 budget: The “balanced budget” is the result of months of hard work to close an initial gap; “reasonable and responsible,” says President Preckwinkle.
Change in Net Position in actual financial statements for 2016: Negative $819 million.
By: Mark Glennon*
It’s an old story rarely told. Politicians brag about “balanced budgets. The press obsesses over budgets and budget addresses. Reality ends up disproving most of it, but isn’t reported.
Something closer to reality comes after the close of each fiscal year in the form of a CAFR, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report — actual financial statements. They, too, have their gimmicks but are much more realistic than budgets.
In government financial statements, “change in net position” is the bottom line on results, basically like net income” on private sector statements.
That’s where the $819 million dollar loss is shown in the CAFR just released for Cook County’s 2016 fiscal year.
And get a load of the ten-year history of change in net position for Cook Country, from page 222:
2007: -$325 million; 2008, –252 $million; 2009, -$517 million; 2010, -$574 million; 2011 million, -$548 million; 2012, -$633 million; 2013, -$799 million; 2014, – 646 -$million; 2015, –$781 million; 2016, -$819 million.
Those are annual changes. The accumulated net position is -$15.3 billion.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.
Updated to clarify that the ten-year numbers are annual changes only and to add the current net position.