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.

360 Documents


GFOA Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Railroad Tax Preemption Case

September 24, 2014

The GFOA joined its partner national associations on an amicus, or friend of the court, brief filed by the State and Local Legal Center before the Supreme Court in the case of Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation. In this case, the Court is asked to decide whether Alabama’s requirement that railroads pay a 4% sales tax on diesel fuel, while trucks pay a 19% per gallon excise tax, and water carriers pay no tax, violates the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act (the 4-R Act), which prohibits states from taxing railroads in a discriminatory manner.

Federal Funding and Ban on Internet Access Taxes Extended; GFOA Urges Outreach to Congress

September 24, 2014

President Obama signed a short-term $1.012 trillion fiscal measure to keep the federal government running through December 11, 2014. The measure also includes an extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) until that time. ITFA – the current law that prohibits state and local taxation of Internet access – would expire on November 1 without the language included in budget measure.

National Associations File Comments with FCC Supporting the Preemption of State Restrictions on Municipal Broadband

September 4, 2014

Several associations that represent the interests of local governments, including the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of municipal broadband networks and voiced concerns with state laws that prohibit or limit their deployment.

New Federal Banking Rules Could Increase Borrowing Costs for State and Local Governments

August 26, 2014

Federal regulators are set to approve new liquidity standards on banks that could increase borrowing costs for state and local governments, according to reports from Bloomberg and other news outlets. The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of Currency are scheduled to vote on September 3, 2014, on the new rules, which would require banks with at least $250 billion in assets to meet new liquidity requirements.

Public Pension Investment Returns Increase by 16.9% for Year

August 22, 2014

In the year ended June 30, 2014, U.S. state and local-government pension investments earned the highest returns seen in three years, according to a report from Wilshire Associates, as reported by Bloomberg. Public pension returns increased by 16.9%, the best performance since fiscal 2011, when returns increased by 21.2%. Funds with more than $1 billion in assets performed best, with a median increase of 17.4%, attributed to larger alternative asset allocations.

GFOA Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Maryland Income Tax Case

August 12, 2014

The GFOA joined its partner national associations on an amicus, or friend of the court, brief filed by the State and Local Legal Center before the Supreme Court in the case of Comptroller v. Wynne. In this case, the Supreme Court will determine whether the U.S. Constitution requires states to give a credit for taxes paid on income earned out-of-state.

GFOA Members Urged to Advocate for Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act during August Recess

August 6, 2014

On July 15, 2014, a group of bipartisan senators introduced the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act (MITFA, S. 2609), legislation that would combine the Marketplace Fairness Act that passed the Senate last year with a 10-year extension of the moratorium on Internet access taxes that is set to expire November 1, 2014.

Municipalities Ask the FCC to Consider Preemption of State Restrictions on Municipal Broadband

July 31, 2014

On July 24, 2014, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina, filed separate petitions asking the FCC to consider whether their states’ laws prohibit the deployment of high-speed broadband services in a reasonable and timely manner. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has spoken repeatedly about his desire to address state laws that prohibit or restrict municipal broadband networks. These petitions provide the chairman the opportunity to take action.

AICPA Whitepapers

July 29, 2014

The AICPA Governmental Audit Quality Center (GAQC) helps its members meet the challenges of performing quality audits. One significant industry the GAQC focuses resources on is audits of state and local entities. The AICPA’s State and Local Governments Expert Panel (SLGEP) serves the needs of AICPA members on financial and business reporting and audit and attest matters. The Expert Panel protects the public interest by bringing together knowledgeable parties in the state and local government industry to deliberate and come to agreement on key state and local government issues.

GFOA Joins Letter to Senate in Support of Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act

July 29, 2014

The GFOA joined other national associations representing local governments on a letter (see below) to the Senate urging support for the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act (MITFA, S. 2609). This legislation, introduced by a group of bipartisan senators on July 15, 2014, would combine the Marketplace Fairness Act that passed the Senate last year with a 10-year extension of the moratorium on Internet access taxes that is set to expire November 1, 2014.

GFOA Secures Introduction of Legislation to Expand Availability of Bank-Qualified Bonds

July 29, 2014

Last week, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced legislation (H.R. 5199) that would permanently raise the issuer limit on bank-qualified bonds from $10 million to $30 million. The legislation, which breathes new life into the effort to restore the annual issuer limit to $30 million, is the culmination of several months of work by GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center with the offices of congressmen Tom Reed (R-NY), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), John Larson (D-CT) and Richard Neal (D-MA).

SEC Approves Final Rule on Money Market Mutual Fund Reform

July 23, 2014

On July 23, 2014, the SEC voted 3-2 to approve a final rule on its 2013 proposal to institute reforms to money market mutual funds. The commission’s final rule contains a number of components that were included in its 2013 proposal – which the GFOA opposed and commented on in an independent letter and as part of a state and local association coalition last fall. (See both letters below.) Such provisions require institutional prime, retail, and municipal (tax-exempt) funds to maintain a floating net asset value instead of a stable NAV, which had existed previously.

U.S. House of Representatives Passes GFOA-Opposed Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act; GFOA-Supported Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act Introduced in Senate

July 17, 2014

On July 15, 2014, the House of Representatives passed the GFOA-opposed Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (HR 3086). 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 to do so under current law – Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

GFOA Publishes Alert on SEC Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative

July 11, 2014

This week, the GFOA published an alert for members on the SEC’s MCDC initiative, which was announced by SEC’s 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 issuer’s prior compliance with its continuing disclosure obligations.

Issue Brief Looks at Pension Obligation Bonds

July 11, 2014

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. An Update on Pension Obligation Bonds finds that governments are more likely to issue POBs if their debt levels are high, they are short of cash, and the pension plan represents a substantial obligation to government.

GASB Proposes Additional Guidance on Postemployment Benefits

July 11, 2014

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 GASB’s new guidance on pensions.

NASBO Report Looks at Performance Management

July 11, 2014

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.