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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GFOA Announces First Annual Better Budgeting Web-Stream Event

September 1, 2016

Budgeting is at the very core of local government finance, where it functions as a practical tool for setting policy, establishing priorities, promoting effectiveness and efficiency in operations, and ensuring both financial and programmatic accountability. Budgeting can only be as effective as the budget professionals who make it all happen. Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) First Annual Better Budgeting web-streaming event on October 6, 2016, with an encore presentation on January 12, 2017, 2:00−4:00 p.m.

21st Annual Governmental GAAP Update

September 1, 2016

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) will offer its 21st Annual Governmental GAAP Update web-stream event on November 3, 2016, and again on December 1, 2016, 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:

August Recess Is Here—Are you Ready?

August 3, 2016

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 themselves, 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 Congressional member to come face-to-face with the impact of federal preemption legislation, especially because of the deep fiscal impacts these have on localities within their districts.

Implementing the Affordable Care Act

July 28, 2016

It’s a work in progress—that’s how a new brief from the 40-state ACA Implementation Research Network, a project jointly operated by the Rockefeller Institute and the Brooking Institution, describes ACA implementation so far. Among the brief’s findings: Medicaid enrollments have exceeded early forecasts, as many people who had been eligible for Medicaid only learned of their eligibility when checking on the exchanges.

Colorado Counties Benefit from Shared Services

July 21, 2016

Reacting to a changing environment is nothing new for local governments, but determining the best response to change can still be difficult. Pueblo County, Colorado, used shared services to address its changing environment and made unexpected gains in the bargain. Faced with increasing software costs due to mandatory system upgrades, several Colorado counties began looking for other property assessment software options. Pueblo, one of the larger counties in the area, found out about the challenge its peers faced and offered to help by providing access to Pueblo County’s system.

SLLC Issues Supreme Court Review for Local Governments

July 20, 2016

As an associate member of the State and Local Legal Center, GFOA engages with other “Big Seven” members to write amicus briefs, ensuring that the court understands the impact of its findings on state and local governments. For a summary of the cases of special interest to state and local governments in 2016, take a look at the SLLC’s Supreme Court review summary. 

Senate Introduces Bank-Qualified Loan Legislation

July 19, 2016

Last week, a group of Senate lawmakers introduced legislation (S 3257) 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 work by GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center with the offices of Senator Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Menendez (D-NJ).

Puerto Rico Legislation: An Update

June 28, 2016

Early this year, GFOA provided support for legislation aimed at addressing Puerto Rico’s current financial and humanitarian emergency. GFOA, along with other local government associations, provided support for House-side legislation known as PROMESA, while specifying that support would be withdrawn if any extraneous provisions affecting state and local government financial or pension matters were added. PROMESA passed the House on June 9, 2016, and is being considered by the Senate.

Another Move in the Marketplace Fairness Chess Game

June 22, 2016

An Internet retailer has filed suit against the State of Alabama, claiming its new rule requiring that all retailers selling more than $250,000 in goods annually must collect sales tax – regardless of whether the retailer has a physical presence in the state – is unconstitutional. This is not the first lawsuit of its kind; a suit was filed earlier this spring challenging the State of South Dakota’s law, which is similar to the Alabama rule.

Award Program for Small Government Cash Basis Reports

June 14, 2016

What is the Award Program for Small Government Cash Basis Reports?
For practical reasons, many small governments prepare their financial statements using either the modified cash basis or state-mandated regulatory basis of accounting, rather than generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The Government Finance Officers Association's (GFOA) Cash Basis Award Program is designed to help such governments improve the quality of their annual financial reports.

GFOA Testifies at IRS/Treasury Department Hearing on Political Subdivisions

June 8, 2016

On June 6, 2016, Patrick J. McCoy, GFOA President-Elect and director of finance for the New York City Metropolitan Finance Authority testified on behalf of GFOA at a hearing held by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury on their proposed rule on political subdivisions. The proposal would increase restrictions on the definition of “political subdivision” for the purpose of being able to issue tax-exempt bonds.

GFOA Issues Alert on Rule G-42

June 8, 2016

The new G-42 rule from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) becomes effective June 23, 2016. Rule G-42, or Duties of Municipal Advisors, stems from the Dodd Frank Act and the SEC’s subsequent municipal advisor rule. This rule does not establish any responsibilities for issuers, but it does create numerous responsibilities for the municipal advisors that are hired by state and local governments.

GFOA Issues Alert on MCDC Initiative Settlement Terms for Issuers

June 8, 2016

Issuers that self-reported under the SEC’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation (MCDC) initiative can expect to receive settlement offers containing standard provisions to which they must consent in the near future. The SEC is requesting an extraordinarily short turn-around for the settlement—5 to 10 days—but has indicated that it will extend the settlement offer upon request.