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.
Americas counties spend an estimated $20 billion-$24 billion on health insurance premiums each year, covering approximately 2.5 million county employees and nearly 2.4 million dependents, according to a new study by the National Association of Counties.
A new issue brief from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence examines the rationale for issuing Pension Obligation Bonds and how they have performed since the financial crisis.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board recently released two new exposure drafts on other postemployment benefits: one directed at employers (Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions) and the other targeted at OPEB plans (Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans). Both EDs propose to bring accounting and financial reporting for OPEB into line with GASBs new guidance on pensions.
Today, the released a new report, Investing in Results: Using Performance Data to Inform State Budgeting, a new report from the National Association of State Budget Officers, highlights some key themes and lessons learned for using performance information in state budgeting, planning, and program management, based on state budget officer discussions on this subject as well as several state-specific case studies.
This week, the GFOA published an alert for members on the SECs MCDC initiative, which was announced by SECs Enforcement Division on March 10, 2014. The initiative provides issuers and underwriters the opportunity to self-report instances of material misstatements in bond offering documents regarding the issuers prior compliance with its continuing disclosure obligations.
The GFOA, along with several other national associations representing local governments, sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging members to vote no on the passage of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, HR 3086. If enacted, the bill would permanently preempt state and local governments authority to assess taxes on Internet access and would specifically remove that authority from ten states that are currently permitted under current law to assess such taxes. The full House will consider the GFOA-opposed legislation during the week of July 14, 2014.
The information contained in this document was developed to educate members about the SEC MCDC Initiative and should not be construed as legal advice.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086), if enacted, would cost states and localities several hundred million dollars a year. The bill would permanently preempt state and local governments authority to assess taxes on Internet access and would specifically remove that authority from ten states that are currently permitted under current law to assess such taxes. The House Judiciary Committee recently approved H.R.
In the midst of all the bad news about Detroit, it appears that the city also has quite a bit going for it.
The House Judiciary approved the GFOA-opposed Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, H.R. 3086, which would permanently preempt state and local governments authority to assess taxes on Internet access and pave the way for other industries to argue that they too deserve special protections from state and local taxation.
"The GFOA Award Program for Small Government Cash Basis Reports is happy to announce a first-time winner of the award - the City of Junction City, Oregon. Receiving this award demonstrates the exceptional dedication that the City of Junction City has to transparency, accountability, and financial reporting on a modified cash basis. All staff involved in attaining this distinction for the city should be commended for their accomplishment.
The GFOA joined with 10 other national associations representing state and local governments and retirement systems on a letter to Securities and Exchange Commissioner Daniel Gallagher to express serious concern over remarks he made to regulators criticizing state and local governments pension disclosures and commitment to transparency.
On behalf of local governments across the nation, our organizations want to express our opposition to H.R. 3086, the "Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA)." Instead, as the expiration date for the current moratorium on taxing Internet access approaches, and Congress considers changes to ITFA, our organizations recommend a shorter-term extension of ITFA, as a sensible solution that respects state and local taxing authority. In addition, any extension must maintain both the long-standing grandfather provisions that preserve existing state and local revenues, as well as certain general business taxes that were not intended to be part of the moratorium.
The GFOA joined with other national associations representing local governments on a letter to the House of Representatives strongly opposing HR 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, and urging members to do the same. The letter maintains that the bill 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.
Applications to become a GFOA standing committee member are being accepted through July 18. GFOA's seven standing committees meet twice each year and develop best practices, advisories and policy statements for the approval of the Executive Board and membership
On March 10, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commissions Enforcement Division (the SEC) announced the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) Initiative to provide issuers and underwriters the opportunity to self-report instances of material misstatements in bond offering documents regarding the issuers prior compliance with its continuing disclosure obligations. The deadline for self-reporting under the MCDC Initiative is September 10, 2014
States tax collections saw robust growth in the first half of 2013 but significant softening in the second half. Preliminary figures for the first quarter of 2014 indicate even slower growth of tax revenues, according to the latest State Revenue Report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government.
The 2008 financial crisis prompted many state and local governments to make changes to their defined benefit pensions, most often raising employee and employer contributions and reducing benefits for new employees.
A pension plans 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.
Below are links to view the GFOA President's Address and the GFOA Incoming President's Address at the 2014 Annual Conference in Minneapolis.
A recent IRS ruling will likely discourage employers that had planned to end their health-care obligations by sending employees to the exchanges.
Online civic engagement tools can increase public trust in their governments, but only if they avoid common crowd-sourcing problems such as outsider influence when individuals from outside of the jurisdiction try to overly influence the forum. The Alliance for Innovation suggests best practices that can help with this issue.
A new paper from the University of Michigan suggests that the state could solve its road funding problems by being one of the first states in the nation to move to a system where motorists pay a fee based on the number of miles they drive. Mileage fees aim to allocate transportation infrastructure costs based on the number of miles driven, the time of day, the route taken, and the weight of the vehicle, rather than increasing fuel taxes.