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, and see the GFOA Newsletter archive for back issues of our weekly electronic newsletter.
What’s the Right Thing to Do?
On May 15, 2017, GFOA filed comments in response to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed amendments to Rule 15c2-12. The letter reiterates that while GFOA promotes transparency in the market and actively supports activities to ensure that investors have appropriate information about municipal securities, GFOA has significant concerns with the SEC’s proposal.
Establishing the issue price of a tax-exempt bond is important to issuers of tax-exempt debt as it:
Establishing the issue price of a tax-exempt bond is important to issuers of tax-exempt debt as it: 1) determines the arbitrage yield restriction for rebate compliance purposes; and 2) determines the maximum allowable escrow yield for advance refunding bonds.
GFOA encourages members to submit letters to the most recent proposed amendments to SEC Rule 15c-2-12. The rule requires bond dealers to review issuers’ official statements before underwriting municipal bonds and to reasonably determine that the issuer has contracted to disclose annual financial and operating information, as well as material event notices, on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s Electronic Municipal Market Access website.
On March 6, 2017, the South Dakota Sixth Judicial Circuit ruled a state law unconstitutional that would have required remote retailers to collect and remit sales tax if they exceed a statutory threshold of sales into the state each year. The case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., potentially brings the decades-long debate on taxing remote sales a step closer to returning to the U.S. Supreme Court. When South Dakota passed the law in early 2016, it became the first state to implement a remote sales tax law, which was challenged almost immediately.
On March 1, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed amending Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 to include additional event notices under continuing disclosure undertakings. Rule 15c2-12 requires bond dealers to review issuers’ official statements before underwriting municipal bonds and to reasonably determine that the issuer has contracted to disclose annual financial and operating information, as well as material event notices, on the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s Electronic Municipal Market Access website.
Thanks to grassroots support from state and local issuers and the dedicated support from many members of Congress, the House Municipal Finance Caucus garnered 154 co-signers on a letter addressed to Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) about protecting munis from the potential threat of elimination through comprehensive tax reform.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher Morrill, City Manager from Roanoke, Virginia, since 2010, as its next Executive Director. Mr. Morrill succeeds Jeff Esser, who is retiring after 35 years of distinguished service as GFOA Executive Director on June 30, 2017. Mr. Esser joined the Washington, D.C. office of GFOA in 1979 when the membership of GFOA was 9,000 and today it is 19,000.
GFOA’s best practices in school guidelines are centered on a comprehensive budget process framework focused on academic and finance collaboration to best align resources and desired student outcomes. The framework represents the culmination of a multi-year effort led by GFOA, with input from numerous school district officials and other experts in education finance to develop guidelines for better budgeting tailored specifically for school districts.
On January 25, 2017, President Trump issued the executive order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States. An executive order is an official statement from the president that directs federal agencies as to how they are to expend their resources within the laws that are established by Congress and the Constitution.
The School District of Fort Atkinson in Wisconsin recently invited GFOA staff to present to the district’s senior leadership team the Best Practices in School Budgeting, a framework for an improved budget process. Fort Atkinson is part of the GFOA’s Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting, an early adopter group of over 70 districts from across the US improving their budget processes. The Best Practices advocate for improved collaboration between finance and academic leaders and the advancement of student outcomes through more effective use of resources.
(Chicago, Illinois – January 13, 2017) The purpose of a forecast is to inform financial decision-making. Public finance managers often find that decision-makers don’t give forecasts the weight in decision-making that they should. Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Informed Decision-Making Through Forecasting: A Practitioner’s Guide to Government Revenue Analysis describes how public finance managers can make a forecast resonate with its audience.
On January 10, 2017, GFOA and 28 other issuer groups, including our state and local sister organizations, sent a message to the entire Congress in support of the preservation of the tax exemption of municipal bond interest. The message reiterated that the municipal bond is the only infrastructure financing tool that is accessible to jurisdictions of all sizes to effectively access the capital markets. We emphasize that the municipal bond is the best way to effectively implement the infrastructure needs of each community because decision making is made at the local level.
On January 3, 2017, the City of Roanoke, Virginia, passed a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to act on legislation that will enable state and local governments to collect revenues due to local government. Congressional inaction over the past several years has resulted in an increase in the Virginia state sales tax from to 5.3%, from 5%, and has placed significant limitations on the jurisdiction.
A RESOLUTION urging the United States Congress to enact legislation that will enable State and Local governments to collect revenues due to local government that are essential to the expansion of our local and regional economy, creation of thousands of new jobs, enhancement of the quality of life within our communities, and preservation of limited State and Local revenue sources.
I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Multicultural Coalition Taskforce, all those who participated in the Multicultural Coalition survey, and all those who attended the annual meeting at the GFOA Black Caucus in Toronto. Higher than normal attendance and lively participation contributed to a healthy conversation about expanding the scope and mission of the Black Caucus.
On November 22, 2016, a Texas U.S. District Court judge issued a nationwide temporary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing new overtime pay rules scheduled to take effect December 1, 2016. Twenty-one states joined business groups filing suit in the eastern district of Texas to stop the DOL from implementing the rules, which they say would substantially increase employment costs.
The GFOA Executive Board approved two new best practices in addition to updates to four other existing best practices at the September 2016 meeting. These documents provide recommendations to government finance officers in the areas of treasury and investment management, and retirement administration and benefits administration.
The GFOA Executive Board approved two new best practices in addition to updates to four other existing best practices at the September 2016 meeting. These documents provide recommendations to government finance officers in the areas of treasury and investment management, retirement administration and benefits administration.
Now that the general election has concluded, we enter the hectic and exciting period of a new administration laying out its key goals and potential partnerships with Congress. Although President-elect Trump has not made municipal bonds a centerpiece of their campaign messaging, GFOA will work with the new administration to ensure that any new infrastructure financing plans recognize the importance of this centuries-long partnership, and that the tax-exemption remains intact.
On November 10, 2016, GFOA, along with the Leadership of the Committee on Governmental Debt Management, filed comments on the MSRB’s fiscal year 2017 Strategic Plan. The message reiterated approval for the MSRB’s work on EMMA, especially the development of platforms and features that enhance an issuer’s ability to use EMMA with greater ease and consistency, as evidenced in the groups’ recent work on improving the bank loan function. However, GFOA would appreciate the MSRB continuing to reach out to the association about further educational efforts and enhancements to EMMA.
(Chicago, Illinois October 26, 2016) Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) announced the members of the second wave of its Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting. The Alliance is composed of 36 school districts working with GFOA to implement Best Practices in School Budgeting. Alliance members include districts from 18 states across the U.S. serving anywhere from a several hundred students to over one hundred thousand students.
Alliance members include:
(Chicago, Illinois – October 25, 2016) Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) will host its 111th Annual Conference, May 21-24, 2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. Registration for the event is open on GFOA’s website (www.gfoa.org).
The conference is expected to bring together thousands of public finance professionals through: