Finance News

Lawmakers investigate cause of delay in financial reporting

As the end of fiscal year 2022 in Wyoming approaches next month, state officials have still not completed the comprehensive annual financial report for 2021.

Members of the State Auditor’s Office updated the Wyoming Legislature’s Select Committee of Capital Financing and Investments Wednesday morning and said they are optimistic the final report will be released May 31. That’s nearly six months behind schedule, which auditors attributed to several agencies either failing to meet deadlines or providing incorrect information.

One of the key agencies questioned by lawmakers for their lack of timely contribution to the audit was the state treasurer.

According to state auditor Kristi Racines, she was missing $27.5 billion in cash and investment information completed in an auditable form from the Treasurer’s Office, out of the state’s total $32 billion in financial assets.

Although Racines’ office has now collected this data and the external auditors, MHP LLC (formerly McGee, Hearne and Paiz), have reviewed the second draft of the report, she said this is unprecedented.

“We are in uncharted territory,” she says.

Capital Financing Committee chairman and delegate Bob Nicholas, R-Cheyenne, was one of several committee members who investigated state officials for the delay, and he was concerned when and if the report would be ready.

Racines said there were many factors that came into play in completing the audit, such as the fact that MHP had adequate time and staff. The State Auditor’s Office has to do a lot of work preparing and verifying information before sending it to MHP, and the second statement is usually done in December.

Racines said her office is now battling for time as the end of the 2022 fiscal year approaches, meaning the comprehensive 2022 annual financial report may also be delayed.

“The external auditors are very busy,” she says. “They have a lot of customers — both government and private customers — except for the state of Wyoming.”

There are state and federal ramifications for late report or not issuing the document at all. Some have already been felt by state lawmakers