background image
advocacy community education
12
"However," Thiebert continued, "there
are tremendous things we have done
as a country. We've come out of the
Great Depression, fought World War II
... This is a fiscal challenge, because
current fiscal policy is on an unsustain-
able path. There are no easy solutions
... finding solutions will require biparti-
san cooperation and a willingness to
discuss all options ... Public engage-
ment and understanding is vital in find-
ing solutions. This is not about num-
bers. It is a moral issue."
Comeback America:
Turning the Country Around and
Restoring Fiscal Responsibility
Former U.S. Comptroller General
David Walker provided an additional
take on the federal scenario.
"Our budget has gone from being dom-
inated by defense [expenditures] to
being dominated by social insurance
programs; our per capita debt is
$45,426. If you count Social Security
and Medicare, we're three years away
from Greece," he warned.
"Most governments have grown too
big, promised too much, and taken too
long to turn around ... If there's one
thing that can bankrupt this country, it's
healthcare. We are the only industrial-
ized nation that does not have a set
budget for healthcare.
"The market is already starting to react.
When you look under the surface, for-
eign investors are buying short-term
debt to avoid interest rate and currency
exposure.
"If there were a debt crisis for the
United States, it would likely create a
global depression.
"The biggest deficit we have is a leader-
ship deficit we are telling people what
they want to hear, making promises we
can't keep ... There is no party of fiscal
responsibility. The decisions that we
make or fail to make in the next
three to five years will determine
whether our future is better than our
past ... Our profession really needs to
get engaged in this at the municipal,
state, and federal levels," Walker urged.
Lessons from Connecticut's
OPEB Commission
In 2010, then-Governor M. Jodi Rell
appointed CSCPA staff member Julie
McNeal
to the Other Post-Employment
Benefits (OPEB) Commission to exam-
ine the state's over-promised and
under-funded commitments to state
workers.
"If you retire as a state worker today in
Connecticut, you have cheaper health-
care than if you work," McNeal
informed the audience. "There are
50,000 state workers, and our trajecto-
ry is not going down. We have some of
the most generous benefits in the
nation; for example, no other state cov-
ers dependents like we do.
"My biggest takeaway [from my expe-
rience on the commission] is that
healthcare is the key. The largest
unfunded liability on all states' finan-
cial statements is for healthcare, and
the largest unfunded entitlement on
the federal balance sheet is Medicare
... Until we are willing to deal with
healthcare
systems,
cost,
and
access, we, and our future genera-
tions, will remain tied to debilitating
debt," she concluded.
Contact your state senator and state representative
today and tell them to Fix Our Future.
Contact your state legislators and tell them there are three action steps we
must take today to fix our future.
We must convert to full-accrual Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles (GAAP).
We must create a long-term strategic plan for the
state of Connecticut.
We must proactively designate any unanticipated
surplus revenue to further reduce budget deficits
and unfunded post-retirement benefit liabilities.
Visit
www.cscpa.org/fixfuture to find the following:
Who do I talk to?

Links to legislators' contact information.
What can I say?
Additional background on the steps listed above.
Where can I find out more?
Contact information for members of the
CSCPA Governmental Issues Task Force and a link to our blog.
Fixing Our Future
(continued from previous page)
View the Fairfield CONNection PowerPoint presentations and
more on our blog, http://connecticutcpas.wordpress.com.