Written by: Dr. Richard Swier
The state of Florida has invested in the currencies of foreign nations. Florida’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) reports that as of June 30, 2011 the state held over $183 million of foreign currencies (see page 66).
The CAFR states that the State Board of Administration, “[H]as developed a total fund investment plan for the investment of assets in the FloridaThe CAFR states that the State Board of Administration, “[H]as developed a total fund investment plan for the investment of assets in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) Pension Trust Fund and the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund (LCEF) that sets ranges on investments by asset class. In the FRS Pension Trust Fund, no current investment policy exists that limits investments in foreign equity securities that are not denominated in U.S. dollars. Retirement System (FRS) Pension Trust Fund and the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund (LCEF) that sets ranges on investments by asset class. In the FRS Pension Trust Fund, no current investment policy exists that limits investments in foreign equity securities that are not denominated in U.S. dollars.” [My emphasis]
The top three foreign currencies held are: the Japanese Yen – $38.473 million, Taiwan New Dollar – $26.495 million and the Euro $20.552 million. However, the report shows investments in the currencies of members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Listed OIC member nation currencies held include: Egyptian pound $619,000, Indonesian rupiah $748,000, Malaysian ringgit $2,130,000, Moroccan dirham $320,000 and the Turkish new lira $2,514,000. The total held is $6,331,000.
Florida also holds $572, 000 in Israeli shekels. The combined OIC currency holdings are eleven times greater than those of Israeli currency holdings.
According to the 2011 State of Florida CAFR:
“At June 30, 2011, the state’s investments in governmental and business-type activities and fiduciary funds totaled $194.4 billion, consisting of pooled investments with the State Treasury in the amount of $15.9 billion and other investments in the amount of $178.5 billion. The State Treasury also had holdings at June 30, 2011, of $3.4 billion for discretely presented component units in total. These investments are not reported as part of the primary government and may be different from the amounts reported by some component units due to different reporting periods. Other investments for discretely presented component units totaled $20.5 billion.” [My emphasis]
NOTE: ”Discretely presented component units”, include: Certificates of deposit,Commercial paper,Repurchase agreements,Money market funds, U.S. guaranteed obligations, Federal agencies, Domestic bonds & notes, International bonds & notes, Domestic stocks, International stocks, Real estate investments, Mutual funds, and Investment agreements.
All of these investments are taxpayer money. You are in effect a share holder in Corporation Florida with a valuation in excess of $412 billion.
Think of the power the state can wield over the private sector with this kind of investment portfolio. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Every city, county and school board in Florida have similar investments. This report is the best kept secret of every level of government. Why? Because these governments are awash in investment dividends and interest payments, all courtesy of the taxpayer. Rather than return the profits to taxpayers, governments at every level use it for their own purposes while crying poor to the public.
According to Gerald R. Klatt, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Ret.) and former Auditor/Commander, Air Force Audit Agency and a Federal Accountant, in 2003, “The State of Florida at the State-level has approximately $48.79 billion of the taxpayer’s money it is not using, i. e. surpluses equal to $2,843 for every man, woman and child in Florida or $11,374 for a family of 4. This does not include all the additional surpluses that exist in the school districts, cities, or counties in Florida.”
There are approximately 83,000 governments and government-like entities in the U.S. You can start at the State, county, township, and/or city level. From there you will have to do some digging and ask questions. Here is a step-by-step approach that you may use to attempt to locate and obtain Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) for your city, county and State.
1. Start with the following government website: Type in the name of the school district, city, county and/or State in a search engine.
Locate the official website of the government.
2. Now this is where the search begins.
a. If the government web site has a Search function, then type in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” and search the site for this document. If found then you can download the CAFR onto your hard drive and review it at your leisure, print out certain pages and have available for future use in the event you are not now ready to review the CAFR.
b. If the above search is either not available or does not take you to the governments CAFR, then
1) For a State-level CAFR look in the Statewide Offices and/or Executive Branch categories shown above. Look for a financial department such as Treasurer, Finance, Finance and Accounting, etc. Usually the CAFR is found in a reporting section. Sometimes the department will have its own Search function. If so, then again type in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report”.
2) If you are looking for a city or county CAFR, then go to the list of departments and look for a financial department such as Treasurer, Finance, Finance and Accounting, etc. You are interested in the reports section. Sometimes the department will have its own Search function. If so, then again type in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report”.
c. If the above are unproductive, then consider sending an email/letter to one of the financial departments/agencies of the government you are interested in and ask them:
1) Whether their CAFR is on-line. if so at what address can it be accessed.
2) If the CAFR is not on line, then ask how you can obtain a copy.
3) Here is an email/letter that you may use to ask about the governments CAFR. You can highlight this email with your mouse or keyboard, copy it to the clipboard, and then paste it to a New Message in your email program or to your word processing program.
“SUBJECT: [Name of government] Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)
I request a copy of [government name] FY 2002 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The copy requested is a copy of the original report prepared in compliance with the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 34 – ‘Basic Financial Statements.’ and audited by either an AICPA firm or internal auditors. If you submit your CAFR to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) , then the copy I request is the CAFR report of that submission, which should be the same as the GASB prepared CAFR previously described.”
In case you do not have a financial document called the CAFR, the document I request is an annual financial statement that:
Presents a comprehensive picture of a government’s financial condition by combining the annual financial reports of all government agencies and universities.
Provides information on all government funds including those held outside the government treasury.
Presents information on the accrual basis recognizing amounts owed by the government but not paid at the end of the fiscal year, as well as amounts due to the government but not received by the end of the fiscal year.
Contains information on real property and other fixed assets, long-term obligations or investments held outside the government treasury; and
Includes statistical and some economic data.
If the document is currently on your web site, please provide the address so I can access and download the document.
If the document is not on your web site, please advise how I can obtain a copy.
Your assistance regarding my request will be appreciated.
City, State, ZIP]