News

News

GFOA is always on the lookout for news items that will be useful for finance professionals, research that might help you do your job better, and legal and regulatory updates you need to know about. Check the GFOA news page for the updates and any relevant GFOA announcements.

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Measuring the Impact of Sprawl

April 24, 2014

Sprawl versus compact development – it’s a complicated dichotomy, and a crucial argument in the study of sustainable urban development. Measuring Sprawl 2014, a new study from Smart Growth America that analyzes development patterns in U.S. metropolitan areas and counties, is looking to see which communities are more compact and connected and which are more sprawling, and examining how index scores relate to life in that community.

Public Plans Database Provides Comprehensive Information

April 24, 2014

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College have partnered to develop the Public Plans Database, which contains comprehensive financial, governance, and plan design information for 126 state and local defined benefit plans, along with additional data on state defined contribution plans. The database represents more than 85% of total state and local government pension assets and members.

U.S. Treasury Department Forms New Municipal Issuers Oversight Unit

April 24, 2014

Beginning in mid-May, the U.S. Treasury Department will increase its monitoring of state and local government bond issuers through a new unit. The new Office of State and Local Finance will monitor and report on municipal issuers and market factors and conditions that contribute to stress in the municipal market, including public pensions. The office will also organize and propose federal policy solutions to address their concerns in these areas. Leading the office will be Kent Hiteshew, who is leaving his current position as Senior Managing Director of J.P. Morgan’s Housing Finance Group.

GFOA Comments to Federal Agencies: Proposed Bank Liquidity Requirements Could Have Harmful Impacts

March 18, 2014

On January 31, 2014, the GFOA provided comments to three federal agencies about proposed regulations that could harm state and local government debt issuers. The proposal is intended to make banks more resilient and capable of weathering periods of fiscal stress without direct government intervention by requiring banks to maintain a designated level of high-quality liquid assets. As drafted, however, the proposal fails to classify municipal securities as high-quality liquid assets.

Public Sector, Particularly Schools, Limiting Part-Time Employment Because of ACA

March 18, 2014

Many public-sector organizations across the country have limited or reduced part-time employment to less 30 hours a week “to avoid providing them with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act,” according to the New York Times. Although coverage requirements are to be eased for larger employers, employers’ 2015 obligations will be based on the hours employees work in 2014.

Colorado and Other States Work to Make Health-Care Prices Available to the Public

March 18, 2014

Eleven states are taking steps to make prices for health-care services available to the public, in an effort to make it possible for consumers to shop for lower-cost providers and services. Colorado is working to create an all-payer claims database containing information from every receipt for a health-care service provided in the state, according to the Washington Post.

State Pensions Reach 75% Funded Level

March 18, 2014

State pensions reached an average funded level of 75% for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, up three points from the previous year, according to Wilshire Consulting, which cites the funds’ exposure to equities – the S&P 500 index rose 30% in 2013. This is the highest funding level since 2008, when it was at 81%, according to Bloomberg, which noted that “the 10-year peak was 95% in 2007, while the low was 64% in 2009.” Pension assets grew to $2.12 trillion in 2013.

State Health-Care Cost Containment Commission Releases Report

March 18, 2014

The State Health Care Cost Containment Commission, organized by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, released a report on how the nation’s governors and other state leaders can transform the current health-care system into one that is more integrated, coordinated, patient-centered, and cost-effective.The report aims to jump start state-level action on health-care cost containment as states begin new legislative sessions.

December 1 Deadline Approaches for Issuers to Participate in SEC’s MCDC Initiative

On August 1, 2014, the SEC’s Enforcement Division announced an extension of the deadline for state and local government issuers to participate in the commission’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) Initiative from September 10, 2014 to December 1, 2014.  The deadline for underwriters to participate was not extended beyond September 10, 2014 (view the SEC press re