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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GFOA Members Encouraged to Oppose Permanent Extension of Internet Tax Freedom Act

June 11, 2014

The House of Representatives is considering a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086), with action likely to be taken on the bill in the next few weeks. The GFOA strongly opposes this measure because it would cost states and localities millions of dollars in revenue in the coming years, as more services that are subject to traditional taxation move to the Internet.

Report Provides Information and Comparisons on Capital Budgeting

June 11, 2014

The recent Capital Budgeting in the States Report from the National Association of State Budget Officers provides state-by-state comparisons on the ways budget officers develop and implement capital spending plans, including how states make decisions to invest in new facilities or maintain old ones; ways states distinguish infrastructure spending from day to day operating expenses; criteria for project financing strategies and options for funding infrastructure; and efforts to mitigate fis

Using Technology to Increase Organizational Effectiveness

June 11, 2014

Resilient Communities, Efficient Governments, a recent report from Hyland and GovLoop, presents techniques for preparing organizations for significant, disruptive events using tools that are designed to improve service delivery and cost-effectiveness every other day of the year. In this way, planning and preparation becomes less about disaster recovery and more about delivering better services to the community, no matter the conditions.

Factoring in the Effect of Economic, Fiscal, and Financial Shocks on Public Pension Funding

June 11, 2014

Assessing the Affordability of State Debt, a working paper from the New England Public Policy Center at the Boston Federal Reserve, challenges the common perception that state and local governments deliberately decreased public pension fund contributions as a backdoor way to run deficits from 2001 to 2010, and finds that public pension sponsors actually increased contributions during that time.

GASB Issues Exposure Draft on Fair Value Measurement and Application

June 11, 2014

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board issued for public comment a proposed statement addressing accounting and financial reporting issues related to fair value measurements. The Exposure Draft, Fair Value Measurement and Application, describes how fair value should be defined and measured, what assets and liabilities should be measured at fair value, and what information about fair value should be disclosed in the notes to the financial statements. Stakeholders are encouraged to review the proposals and provide comments by August 15, 2014.

Public Pension Plan Investment Returns Exceed Assumptions

June 11, 2014

A pension plan’s actuarial assumption is an assumption the plan makes, based on demographic and economic information, about the investment return the plan is likely to make over future years. Public-sector pension fund investment return assumptions have been the focus of growing attention in recent years, with critics saying the current low interest rates and volatile investment markets require pension funds to take on too much investment risk to achieve their assumed rate of return.

GFOA Elects New Executive Board Members

May 20, 2014

Robert W. Eichem, Chief Financial Officer, City of Boulder, Colorado, became GFOA’s new president at the association’s annual business meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 20, 2014. 

Also at the business meeting, the association’s members elected a new GFOA president-elect and five new members-at-large, who will each serve a three-year term beginning immediately.
President-elect

President Obama Signs DATA Act

May 14, 2014

In early May, President Obama signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (Public Law No. 113-101), which amends the eight-year-old Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to make federal agency spending data "with more specificity and at a deeper level than is currently reported" available to the public, according to the administration.

GFOA Alert: The MA Rule and Issuers

May 14, 2014

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given final approval to a rule which takes effect July 1, 2014, defining the term “municipal advisor” (MA), and has produced supplementary Frequently Asked Questions about the rule. The SEC Municipal Advisor Rule specifies activities which will be covered by the Dodd-Frank Act’s imposed fiduciary duty of a municipal advisor to its government client, may result in the need for underwriters to receive new written representations from issuers, and may limit the manner in which underwriters and other professionals interact with issuers. While the Rule does not regulate issuers directly, there are numerous indirect implications.

GFOA Members Encouraged to Oppose Permanent Extension of Internet Tax Freedom Act

May 6, 2014

The House of Representatives is considering a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086). The GFOA strongly opposes this measure because it would cost states and localities millions of dollars in revenue in the coming years, as more services that are subject to traditional taxation transition to the Internet.

GFOA Provides Advocacy Tools on Marketplace Fairness Act and Municipal Tax Exemption

May 6, 2014

As Congress returns home to their congressional districts for the month-long August recess, the GFOA and its state and local coalition partners are gearing up for what is expected to be a busy fall session, with federal action on comprehensive tax reform and the Marketplace Fairness Act projected to increase.  GFOA members can help ensure positive outcomes for maintaining the tax exemption on municipal bond interest and enactment of the Marketplace Fairness Act (HR 684) by meeting with their Senators and members of Congress over the month-long August congressional recess.

Best Practice of the Week - Guidance for Affordable Care Act Implementation

April 30, 2014

Recently, the White House announced that 8 million Americans have signed up for private health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Approximately a third are younger than 35 years old, and the costs of the expansion are reportedly less than expected; for instance, the administration predicts that Medicare and Medicaid costs in 2020 will be $180 billion less than 2010 estimates. Many governments are looking for more information about complying with the act and making sure their health-care benefit is sustainable.

Marketplace Fairness Act Update: House Holds Hearing on Internet Tax Issues

April 24, 2014

On March 12, 2014, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Exploring Alternative Solutions to the Internet Sales Tax Issue, during which committee members discussed core issues that they would like to address in developing House legislation that would enable state and local governments to collect taxes on online retail sales. The hearing was significant in that it was the first action that the House Judiciary Committee has taken on this issue since the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Marketplace Fairness Act (S 743) in May 2013.

SEC Seeks Further Enforcement of Municipal Securities Issuers through Self Reporting

April 24, 2014

On March 10, 2014, the SEC announced a new program aimed at compelling government bond issuers to self-report violations of federal securities laws. While the SEC is prohibited from regulating government issuers under federal law, the commission can file enforcement actions against municipal issuers for misrepresentations about the prior compliance of bond offerings with continuing disclosure obligations.

MSRB Outreach Campaign Highlights EMMA’s Tools for State and Local Governments

April 24, 2014

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board has launched a “Putting EMMA to Work for You” campaign to raise mid-sized municipal issuers’ awareness of the importance of communicating with investors and complying with their disclosure obligations. The Electronic Municipal Market Access website is a resource for evaluating municipal finance options, complying with disclosure requirements and communicating with investors.

Pension System’s Collaborative Effort Already a Game Changer

April 24, 2014

In what industry participants have termed a “game changer,” the Orange County Employees Retirement System, working in collaboration with investment professionals from other public pension plans, has created an innovative platform that will provide small and mid-sized public pension plans with superior access to the industry’s leading private equity partnerships. Bundling public pension assets through an unprecedented joint procurement process opens new doors to achieving superior portfolio returns in what heretofore has been an inefficient and costly asset class for many.

100 Largest Public-Sector Pension Systems Total $3,191.5 Billion

April 24, 2014

For the 100 largest public employee pension systems in the country, cash and security holdings totaled $3,191.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, reaching the highest level since the survey began collecting data in 1968, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Cash and security holdings had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 4.2%, from $3,061.6 billion last quarter, and a year-to-year increase of 12.5%, from $2,836.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.

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.