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GFOA Newsletter
July 7, 2016
Ongoing Trend: Public-Sector Employees Contributing More to their Pension Plans

Public-sector employees are contributing more money to their pension plans, a trend that is expected to increase, according to the New York Times. Unlike most of the private sector, government employees have always been responsible for making contributions to their defined benefit plans—a steady 5% of salary over the last ten years, but up to a median 6% in 2014, according to a recent report from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators. Quarterly employee contributions averaged about $10.8 billion in 2015, the highest amount ever, and an increase of 1.39% from the 2014 average and 7.69% from the 2013 average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Often, congressional proposals to address pension “problems” are not limited to the plans that are in distress, and some of their assumptions about management of pension funds directly contradicts GFOA’s best practices on pension and benefits administration. One of those assumptions is that public employees don’t have “skin in the game.” On the contrary; as the data show, public employees contribute a percentage of their salaries to their retirement funds, as GFOA recommends. 

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Association News
GFOA Accepting 2016 Standing Committee Membership Applications

Applications to become a 2016 standing committee member are being accepted through July 22. Serving on a standing committee is an excellent opportunity for GFOA members to contribute their experience and knowledge to the entire membership. GFOA’s seven standing committees meet twice each year and develop best practices, advisories, and policy statements. GFOA associate members from the private sector may also apply to be committee advisors.

We invite you to submit your application to one of GFOA’s seven standing committees: Accounting, Auditing and Financial Reporting; Canadian Issues; Economic Development and Capital Planning; Governmental Budgeting and Fiscal Policy; Governmental Debt Management; Retirement and Benefits Administration; and Treasury and Investment Management.

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There’s Still Time to Register for August Training in Sacramento

GFOA is bringing eight of its popular training seminars to the West Coast, August 29 to September 1, 2016, at The Hyatt Regency Sacramento. Take advantage of an early registration discount when you sign up and pay in full by July 29.

Sign up for one or more of the following courses:

If you register with three or more colleagues for the same seminar, you will receive 10% off of each registration fee. (To receive the group discount, registrations must be received and paid together. This discount cannot be applied to online training registrations.) Submit a training registration form or sign up using GFOA’s e-store.

A block of rooms has been reserved for the GFOA attendees at The Hyatt Regency SacramentoClick here for more information on special GFOA group rates.

For ideas on what to do while in Sacramento, go to Visit Sacramento. If you have any questions about GFOA training, contact GFOA

News Links
Uncertainty Weighs on State Revenue Forecasts for Fiscal 2016-17

State tax revenue growth slowed significantly in the second half of 2015 and, according to preliminary data, early in 2016, a new State Revenue Report of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government reported. Year-over-year growth was 1.9% in the fourth quarter of 2015. Preliminary data for the first quarter of 2016 call for another quarter of 1.9% growth. Personal income tax revenue growth slowed to 5.1% on a year-over-year basis in the fourth quarter. Growth was weak in sales tax collections, at 2.1%, and motor fuels tax at 3.5% during this same period.

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Tips on Fielding Questions from the Public

By the time stakeholders get around to communicating with their governments, they usually have a significant question or concern—and addressing those concerns isn’t always as straightforward an exercise as it might appear. Government Executive provides the following tips to help you build your reputation for integrity by handling public inquiries effectively:

  • Acknowledge the inquiry and answer within a reasonable period of time.
  • Get to the point immediately and address all the issues raised.
  • Be thorough, taking care to offer alternatives, options, and resources.
  • Be respectful and compassionate, and explain your reasoning.
  • Check your response for writing and spelling errors; even a minor mistake makes you look careless and untrustworthy.
  • Focus on this person and this inquiry.
Read More.
Three Cities Use Technology and Data to Revitalize their Core Business Districts

Not all cities are losing business to the Internet. A recent study that MasterCard commissioned from the Guardian (free with registration) details ideas that have worked in three British cities to get their business districts growing again. Nottingham’s ParkSmart initiative divides the previously congested inner ring into several parking zones, using smart meters and signage to direct drivers while also providing the city with real-time and use analytics that allows it to make further improvements. Norwich embraced digital payments, allowing shoppers to buy things at stores by using a smartphone app that pays for the merchandise digitally, a strategy that helps keep shoppers coming back, leveling the playing field with online merchants. And in Plymouth, city officials have focused on using data analytics to revamp the central business district, maximizing the impact of development. 

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Editor: Marcy Boggs  |  Executive Director/CEO: Jeffrey Esser

The GFOA Newsletter (ISSN 1051-6964) is published weekly by
the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
Correspondence regarding editorial and/or business matters should be sent to
GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210. Phone - 312/977-9700 FAX - 312/977-4806.


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