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.
The GFOA Committee on Governmental Debt Management has recently updated GFOA White Paper: Green Bonds. The paper helps issuers understand the general characteristics, costs, risks, and benefits of entering into these types of transactions. It also provides considerations for issuers contemplating the use of green bonds, such as project eligibility, use of proceeds, securing an independent opinion affirming the “green” qualifications of such projects, reporting obligations, and pricing.
Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) 112th Annual Conference will be held May 6─9, 2018, at America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, Missouri. Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times foreign affairs columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and bestselling author will be GFOA’s keynote speaker on May 8, 8:30–10:00 am.
(Chicago, Illinois January 12, 2018)
Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) 112th Annual Conference will be held May 6─9, 2018, at America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, Missouri. Shawn Achor will be the first of three keynote presenters at the conference. Achor will speak to all GFOA conference delegates and their guests on May 6, 3:50─5:00 pm (Welcome Reception to follow in America’s Center Convention Complex).
Michael Bryant, who is management and budget director for Mecklenburg County (North Carolina) Government and GFOA Executive Board member, was awarded the 2017 A. John “Jack” Vogt Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Advancement of Local Government Budgeting and Evaluation. The award is presented by the North Carolina Local Government Budget Association and recognizes innovators in advancing budget and evaluation practices.
Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) latest guide, Best Practices in Community College Budgeting, provides a comprehensive budget process framework focused on alignment of resources and desired student outcomes. The framework represents the culmination of a multi-year effort led by GFOA, with input from numerous community college officials and other experts in education finance, to develop guidelines for better budgeting, tailored specifically for community colleges.
On November 2, 2017, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released the much-anticipated tax reform bill H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The comprehensive draft proposes substantial changes to the federal tax code governing individuals and corporations. As expected, the committee began the process of marking up the bill (i.e., considering potential changes) on November 6. When the process is completed, the bill is expected to go to the floor for a vote before the full House of Representatives.
(Chicago, Illinois November 1, 2017)
Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) announced new members of its Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting. The Alliance is composed of 38 school districts working with GFOA to implement the Best Practices in School Budgeting. Alliance members include districts from 20 states across the United States serving anywhere from several hundred students to over two hundred thousand students.
Alliance members include:
- Oakland Unified School District
(Chicago, Illinois – October 3, 2017) Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) will offer its 22nd Annual Governmental GAAP Update web-stream event on November 2, 2017, and again on December 7, 2017, and January 18, 2018, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm (Eastern). The training will provide comprehensive coverage of the most recent developments in accounting and financial reporting for state and local governments, including:
(Chicago, Illinois – October 4, 2017) Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Executive Board recently approved seven best practices and advisories in the areas of treasury and investment management, retirement and benefits, municipal debt disclosure and economic development. GFOA best practices identify specific policies and procedures that contribute to improved government management. They aim to promote and facilitate positive change rather than merely to codify current accepted practice.
New and revised best practices include:
GFOA sent a letter to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) in response to the GASB’s Exposure Draft (ED) of Implementation Guide No. 201X-Z, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions (and Certain Issues Related to OPEB Plan Reporting). GFOA supports the GASB providing more guidance to preparers of financial statements through implementation guides.
GFOA supports the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Exposure Draft (ED), Certain Disclosures Related to Debt, including Direct Borrowings and Direct Placements, because it brings more transparency to the users of financial statements. GFOA applauds the GASB for providing a definition of debt that will allow preparers can differentiate between debt and other liabilities for financial reporting purposes.
What Can You Do?
Throughout the month of August, your congressional delegation typically puts business on hold in Washington D.C. and heads home. The “August recess” is designed to give members of Congress and their staff some time to reorient, so it’s one of the very best times for constituents to meet with their members of Congress. Your advocacy during this period of time means the most because it allows your senator and representative to come face-to-face with the impact of federal preemption legislation, especially because of the deep fiscal effects they have on localities within their districts.
In 2016, many GFOA member organizations responded to proposed regulation that would redefine political subdivisions according to the Internal Revenue Service. These proposed regulations would make it difficult for authorities to issue tax-exempt bonds.
On July 25, 2017, the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law held a hearing on H.R. 2887, the “No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017.” The bill, sponsored by James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), was introduced in the 114th Congress and reintroduced for the 115th in June. GFOA and other national organizations have opposed the bill as a broad preemption of state and local government regulatory and tax authority. Click here to view GFOA’s comments for the record.
On July 18, 2017, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee held its second tax reform hearing of this Congress, “Comprehensive Tax Reform: Prospects and Challenges.” While the hearing focused on broad principles and challenges to reforming the federal tax code, it did involve some discussion on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. Preserving the SALT deduction has been a long-standing priority for GFOA, and it remains so as the debate on tax reform evolves. Committee members heard from four individuals who served as Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy in the U.S. Treasury Department.
On July 11, 2017, Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Executive Director, Chris Morrill, will moderate a panel discussion with The Big Seven before Congress about state and local tax (SALT) deduction. This briefing will serve as a “101” to Congressional staff about how SALT is used in the states, counties, and cities and work to dispel the myth that this is singularly an itemized deduction for wealthy Americans.
On June 30, 2017, GFOA filed comments requested by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) on a second draft of its amendments to Rule G-34. The amendments are intended to clarify exceptions to the proposed rule on obtaining CUSIPs for securities sold in private placement transactions.
Don’t confuse leadership with personality, warned best-selling author and leadership expert Jim Collins in an address to delegates at GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference on May 22, 2017. Charisma is a personality trait, and leadership is not about personality – so it’s OK if a leader has what Collins calls a “charisma bypass.” In fact, he suggested that might be for the best, and that organizations need to put aside the notion that charisma necessarily leads to success.
Patrick J. McCoy, Director of Finance, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York, New York, became the new president of Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) at the association’s annual business meeting on May 23, 2017. During the past year, McCoy served on the Executive Board as president-elect. He has been a member of the Executive Board since 2013. McCoy accepted the gavel from 2016-2017 President Marc Gonzales, Director, Department of Finance, Clackamas County, Oregon.
Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) announced the winner of its 2017 Awards for Excellence in Government Finance. GFOA’s most prestigious award recognizes contributions to the practice of government finance that exemplify outstanding financial management. The award stresses practical, documented work that offers leadership to the profession and promotes improved public finance.
Steven Gibson, Assistant City Manager, City of Rock Hill, South Carolina, was elected as president-elect of Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) on May 23, 2017. The election was held at the association’s annual business meeting in Denver, Colorado.
Gibson has been a GFOA member for 18 years. He is an ex officio member of GFOA’s Committee on Governmental Budgeting and Fiscal Policy— served as Chair in 2013-2014 and Vice Chair in 2012. He has been a reviewer for GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Awards Presentation Program for more than 10 years.