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.
On June 9, the full House passed H.R. 235, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) – legislation that would permanently block state and local governments from collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. The legislation, sponsored by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), would extend the 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act’s moratorium on state and local governments’ ability to assess taxes on Internet access; that moratorium was set to end October 1, 2015.
A few notable Supreme Court cases entered into the conversation at GFOA’s Annual Conference in Philadelphia this year, particularly in discussions about retirement and benefits. One example is Tibble v Edison, which GFOA’s Committee on Retirement and Benefit Administration discussed in regard to the fiduciary responsibilities of public pension plan administrators. In this case, the full court recently found that in plans administered under the ERISA statute, trustees have the continuing fiduciary duty to monitor plan investments with prudence.
In late April the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) made two significant adjustments to its technical agenda. First, the Board removed from its current agenda a controversial project on financial projections. Second, Board members added new projects on going-concern and enhanced debt disclosure.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter addressed delegates attending the June 2 general session at GFOA’s annual conference in Philadelphia, speaking about leading the city through the Great Recession.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who is in the last year of his last term, shared some of what he learned from leading one of America’s great cities.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter addressed delegates attending the June 2 general session at GFOA’s annual conference in Philadelphia, providing excellent management advice for any leader, mayor or otherwise.
On June 2 the GFOA provided joint comments to members of the House Judiciary Committee, which is holding a hearing on the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act of 2015 (HR 1643) and the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act of 2015 (HR 2584). The GFOA, along with our colleagues at the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and National Association of Counties has significant concerns with each of these bills.
On June 2, Heather Johnston, City Manager of the City of Burnsville, Minnesota, took over as GFOA President from Bob Eichem, CFO of the City of Boulder. In her opening speech, she talked about the crucial importance of bringing seasoned and newer government finance officers together to bring about real and useful innovation.
On June 2 the GFOA released the results of our survey to gauge the experience of municipal bond issuers with the SEC’s MCDC Initiative. The 2014 initiative provided 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. The initiative incentivized underwriters to self-report, which in turn caused many issuers to be questioned about and investigate their prior continuing disclosure compliance.
GFOA President Bob Eichem Speaks about Resiliency at GFOA Annual Conference Opening Session, Monday, June 1
Can you think of someone in your life you would describe as resilient? This was the question GFOA President Bob Eichem posed to the Monday morning opening session audience at GFOA’s annual conference in Philadelphia. Chances are that the resilient people in your life have some common characteristics, like adaptability and the ability to learn from experience. Eichem observed that financially resilient governments also share many characteristics:
Vanguard Group Founder John Bogle Talks Public Investing at GFOA Annual Conference Keynote Address, Monday, June 1
John C. Bogle, the founder and former CEO of The Vanguard Group, Inc., participated in an interview with Joe Mysak, editor of the daily Bloomberg Brief. Taking questions from the delegates in attendance, Bogle covered a variety of public investing topics.
On May 27 the GFOA joined with the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Governors Association, National Association of State Treasurers, the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers and others to urge members of the U.S. House of Representatives to cosponsor legislation that would classify investment-grade municipal securities as High Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA). The joint letter is available below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeffrey Esser, Executive Director/CEO
E-mail: Jeffrey Esser
Keynote Speakers to Highlight
GFOA's 109th Annual Conference in Philadelphia
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board filed a proposed rule with the SEC that would “govern the core conduct of municipal advisors, including their fiduciary duty to put the interests of state and local government clients ahead of their own,” the Bond Buyer reports.
The SEC’s revised estimates of the compliance burden imposed by its main disclosure rule still contain “gross inaccuracies,” according to a March 27 letter the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association sent to the SEC. The letter was a response to updated SEC estimates about the amount of time required for market participants to comply with Rule 15c2-12.
This week, the GFOA joined with the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, and International City/County Management Association in providing comments to the Senate Finance Committee.
On March 13, 2015, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it will suspend sales of state and local government series securities until further notice. The suspension is aimed at helping the Treasury manage debt subject to the federal debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department announced would happen on Sunday, March15.
On March 3, 2015, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy invited a legal challenge over whether states can require out-of-state and online retailers to collect sales taxes. Justice Kennedy’s opinion was issued as part of the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl. Kennedy’s comments reveal the court’s awareness of the need for federal intervention that would enable states to collect e-commerce taxes.
What is internal control?
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board announced an agreement with Moody’s that will see the credit rating agency post rating updates automatically on the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access system starting later this year. This is an exciting announcement, as Moody’s is the last of the four major credit rating agencies to agree to post its ratings on EMMA since the official repository for information on municipal bonds came online in 2009.
A misperception persists among some that defined contribution plans save money, when compared with traditional pensions, but several states that switched to DC plans have experienced a much different reality over time, according to a recent study from the National Institute on Retirement Security.