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.

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Austin and San Francisco Navigate the Sharing Economy

May 22, 2016

The “sharing economy” is a business model that allows providers and consumers to share resources and services, from housing to vehicles and more. Well-known examples include Uber and AirBnB. Cities like Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California, are at the forefront of the challenge that sharing economy business poses to traditional municipal regulation and taxing regimes.

GFOA Encourages Members to Contact the IRS

May 20, 2016

On Friday, September 20, GFOA filed comments to the IRS on Proposed Regulations that would redefine Political Subdivisions for the purposes of tax exempt bonds. The Proposed Regulations set forth a new, three-part federal test to define political subdivisions qualified to issue tax-exempt debt. Every entity would have to meet all three tests to be considered a political subdivision.

GFOA Alert: Bank Loan Disclosure

May 12, 2016

Over the past five years, the municipal securities market has witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of bank loans by municipal issuers as a tool to finance capital improvements as well as refund outstanding debt. Bank loans, which may be structured with fixed or variable interest rates and with defined maturities or flexible payment provisions, may offer a number of potential advantages over a public offering of municipal securities.

Pension Resource Center Added to Federal Government Relations Page

May 12, 2016

Continued scrutiny of state and local government retirement plans is expected to last into 2016. GFOA will continue to educate members of Congress about the true fiscal condition of public pension systems, consider whether proposed initiatives provide the flexibility the public sector needs to provide retirement security to its employees, and oppose congressional proposals that undermine state and local governments’ authority to effectively govern and finance their pension plans.

A Somewhat New Strategy: Marketplace Fairness and a Case for the SCOTUS

May 12, 2016

GFOA, along with Big Seven members of the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC), have filed amicus briefs in every stage of Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, a Colorado law requiring remote sellers to provide Colorado purchasers with an annual summary of their purchases and to send the same information to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Each amicus brief has cited the devastating impact that the 1992 Quill Corp.

GFOA Awards Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship

April 25, 2016

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has announced the recipients of its 2016 scholarships. The GFOA’s mission is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments. Among the ways GFOA accomplishes its mission is through education, training, and leadership.

The recipients of the two awards for the Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship are Jean Iannuzzi and Cassandra J. Roush. Each will receive $8,000.

GFOA Awards 2016 Scholarships

April 25, 2016

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has announced the recipients of its 2016 scholarships. GFOA’s mission is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments and the awarding of scholarships is one of the ways the GFOA accomplishes its mission.

Keynote Speakers to Highlight GFOA’s 110th Annual Conference in Toronto

April 22, 2016

The Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) 110th Annual Conference, Sharing Solutions and Strategies, will be held May 22─25, 2016, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The keynote speakers will be Bruce Tulgan, who will speak during the opening general session, and Richard Florida, who will address delegates during the general session.

GFOA Awards Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship

April 22, 2016

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has announced the recipients of its 2016 scholarships. GFOA’s mission is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments. Among the ways GFOA accomplishes its mission is through education, training, and leadership.

The recipients of the four awards for the Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship are Kaye M. Matucheski, Shonna Neary, Scott Smith, and Danielle Denise Young. Each will receive $8,000.

Federal Reserve Approves Restrictive Rule on High Quality Liquid Assets

April 7, 2016

On April 1, 2016, the Federal Reserve Board announced that it will adopt a final rule that would classify a very limited number of investment-grade, liquid, and readily marketable municipal securities as high quality liquid assets (HQLA). The Federal Reserve’s action follows its May 2015 to amend the 2014 Liquidity Coverage Ratio rule, which classifies foreign sovereign debt securities as HQLA while excluding investment-grade municipal securities in any of the acceptable investment categories for banks to meet new liquidity standards.

MSRB Requests Comments on Regulatory Approach to Bank Loan Disclosure

April 7, 2016

On March 28, 2016, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) announced that it is seeking public comment on a regulatory approach that would require municipal advisors to disclose information about the bank loans and direct purchases of their municipal entity clients to the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website. GFOA has significant concerns with this proposal, including the following:

House Introduces Public Employee Pension Transparency Act Bill

March 24, 2016

On March 22, Devin Nunes (CA-22) introduced the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act (PEPTA), HR 4822. This legislation is identical to previously proposed and ultimately unsuccessful versions of PEPTA introduced in the last two sessions of Congress. The act would require sponsors of state and local defined benefit plans to report plan liabilities to the Secretary of the Treasury annually in order to retain their federal tax-exempt bond status.

Making Sure Public Pension Plans are Sustainable

March 3, 2016

Public pension funding levels are up and costs to manage the plans are down, according to the 2015 National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) Public Retirement Study. Public pension funding levels are at 74.1%, up from 71.5% the year before. Among the nearly 200 public retirement systems surveyed, the average cost to administer the plans was 60 cents for every $100 managed, down from 61.1 cents a year earlier.

Financial Policy Drives Outcomes in Boulder

February 25, 2016

The implementation of financial policies often yields strong, positive results for local governments over time. The City of Boulder, Colorado, is an example – the use of financial policies allowed the city to identify the best courses of action, establish parameters in which the government would operate, and develop standards to use in judging the government’s fiscal performance. 

Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s Impact on State and Local Government

February 18, 2016

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia this weekend comes at a significant time, as the United States approaches a presidential election. Unsurprisingly, while some of the news coverage has focused on the substance of Scalia’s nearly 30-year career as a Supreme Court justice, much of it has focused on the challenges of replacing him.

Rethinking Organizational Structure to Increase Efficiency

February 11, 2016

Many governments struggle with striking the right balance between specialization and flexibility. There is no perfect answer to this challenge, but focusing on function is a promising place to start. Outdated organizational structures designed to accommodate older technology keep many organizations from building teams, departments, and organizational units in ways that maximize efficiency.