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This report is intended to provide the American people with a comprehensive view of the combined US federal, state, and local governments’ (our Government) revenues, expenditures, key metrics that measure progress towards our constitutional objectives, and the factors that may affect future operations of our Government. It is intended to foster a more constructive and reasoned public debate by providing an authoritative and comprehensive set of data from Government sources on certain facets of our Government: how it raises money, for what purpose, and how it spends that money; actions that it takes through its authorities; and related key metrics. Greater transparency will help voters judge the effectiveness of our Government’s programs, improving the accountability that is essential to a well-functioning democracy. A more civil and rational public debate will enable us to define our goals as a society and choose the best people and policies to carry out those goals.
This report is not intended to provide our opinion on our Government’s efficiency or effectiveness. Rather, it is intended to provide the data necessary for you to develop your own opinions.
Structure and content
Other individuals and groups have created reports with similarities to this one; however, we are not aware of a document for our Government that has the scope and perspective of this one. We have discussed some of the reports with similarities to ours in Exhibit 99.09.
Overall structure and content
This report is modeled on the Form 10-K, which public companies are required to file annually with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In preparing the report, we have conceptualized the requirements of the Form 10-K and applied them to our Government. Our goal is to bring the same level of transparency, accuracy, and lack of bias to our Government that public corporations are required to offer their shareholders.
Of course, our Government is not a corporation; its purpose is not to make a profit but to provide services to its citizens that improve the quality of life. But this Form 10-K format does have the advantage of providing a thorough account of government finances, structure, and activities.
In this report, you will find:
Part I – an overview of our Government’s structure and operations;
Part II – information regarding financial and other key metrics of our Governments’ operations, including:
Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A), which provides analysis of financial and other information, including trends in revenue, expenditures, and key metrics; and
financial statements and the related notes to the financial statements; and
Part III – information regarding our Government’s officers and certain relationships and transactions.
We have excluded certain sections of Form 10-K that are not obviously applicable to our Government. We have also excluded certain financial statements normally found in a Form 10-K. See Exhibit 99.10 for a discussion of this excluded content.
Timeliness of data
Information included in each section of this report is generally based on the most current information from government sources for the majority of the data in the particular section.
Part II of this report generally includes information through September 30, 2018, which marks the end of the latest fiscal year for which aggregated state and local income statement data is available. More recent federal data is available, but to provide a consolidated picture of our Government as a whole, we generally limit the financial data we present to the latest period for which both state and local and federal data is available. We acknowledge that this information is not timely. We do, however, believe that there is value in looking at a longer time series of data, as we have presented in this report and on our website, and that the longer-term trends noted in our analyses likely did not change materially between fiscal years 2018 and 2020. We will continue to search for more current data and explore ways that we might aggregate it ourselves to provide more timely information.
In general, Parts I and III of this report include more recent data, with dates depending on availability of the majority of the respective data.
This year’s report is subject to additional data availability challenges due to a changing federal administration (e.g. budget data for the new administration is not yet available, we may see data continuity issues, policy changes are possible) and the decennial census that was conducted in 2020, through which a significant amount of population data was gathered but has not yet been released.