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

Thursday, March 3, 2016

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.'

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Press Contact: Amanda Smith @ 714-662-6050,

State Senator John Moorlach is a nationally recognized budget, finance, and fiscal policy expert. Moorlach graduated from CA State University in Long Beach in 1977, passed the C.P.A. exam in 1978, and completed his studies for the Certified Financial Planner designation in 1987. He earned a Certificate in Public Finance from the University of Delaware, Division of Continuing Education in 1995, the Certificate of Achievement in Public Plan Policy (CAPPP) in Employee Pensions in 1999 and the Trustees Masters Program in 2003 through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and the New Supervisors Training Institute in 2007 from CA State University in Sacramento in cooperation with their Center for California Studies.