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GFOA Newsletter
September 21, 2017
EMPLOYMENT ADS  |  TRAINING  |  BEST PRACTICES
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Urgent Washington, D.C., Update
Now Is the Time to Act on Tax Reform

GFOA’s meetings with more than 60 members of Congress, including members of the House Ways and Means committee, revealed a potentially brisk timeline for tax reform this fall. House Ways and Means committee members indicated that the committee will meet on Sunday, September 24, and will release its tax reform plan as early as Monday, September 25. Unless we act, the bill will likely eliminate state and local tax deductibility, a partnership that exists between federal, state, and local government that ensures taxpayers are not double taxed and maintains the essential public services upon which Americans rely. Also at risk is the exclusion of municipal bond interest from individual taxable income. The municipal bond interest exclusion is a hallmark of the tax code that helps build and maintain infrastructure across the United States.

Now is the time to contact your Congressional representation, especially if your U.S. representative is on the House Ways and Means Committee. Congress also needs to hear from voters, taxpayers, businesses, realtors, homebuilders, educators, and anyone else in your cities and counties who will be harmed by this proposal, so let your community know.

See the link below for more information and talking points.

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Association News
Join GFOA’s “Members-Only” Group on Facebook by Tomorrow for a Chance to Win an iPad!

You can now connect with GFOA and our members like never before by joining the new GFOA “Members-Only” group on Facebook. This group will allow you to easily interact with members from across the United States and Canada, and GFOA staff. You can start conversations, ask questions, provide feedback, and stay informed about important events.
Anyone who joins the group by tomorrow (Friday, September 22) will be entered into a drawing to win a free iPad. All you have to do is click here and log into Facebook to join. It’s that simple!

To be eligible to win, you must join between the dates of September 15 and September 22. The winner will be announced to the group on September 25.

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Click here for a chance to win.
Next Stop for Remote Sales Tax Collection Challenge: U.S. Supreme Court

The South Dakota Sixth Judicial Circuit ruled earlier this year that a law passed by South Dakota, which would have required remote retailers to collect and remit sales tax if they exceed a statutory threshold of sales into the state each year, is unconstitutional. The case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., potentially brings the decades-long debate on taxing remote sales a step closer back into the U.S. Supreme Court.

The law was ruled unconstitutional because it clearly violates the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, and “Quill remains the controlling precedent on the issue of Commerce Clause limitations on interstate collection of sales and use taxes.” In 1992, Quill stipulated that states cannot require retailers that don’t have an in-state physical presence to collect sales tax. Internet sales have risen astronomically since 1992 and states and local governments still can’t collect most taxes due on sales from out-of-state vendors.

Following this predictable loss before the State Supreme Court, South Dakota is expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that its law requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax is constitutional. Doing so will require the U.S. Supreme Court to take the unusual step of overruling precedent. A U.S. Supreme Court review is discretionary; four of the nine Supreme Court justices must agree to hear the case. If the petition for the court to hear this case is filed soon, the case will be decided by June 30, 2018.   

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GFOA Responds to GASB Exposure Draft

GFOA supports the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Exposure Draft (ED), Certain Disclosures Related to Debt, including Direct Borrowings and Direct Placements, because it brings more transparency to the users of financial statements. GFOA applauds the GASB for providing a definition of debt that will allow preparers to differentiate between debt and other liabilities for financial reporting purposes.

In a response letter to the GASB about the ED, GFOA noted that the proposed additional note disclosures create a realistic set of expectations that state and local governments of all sizes can reference and follow. The new disclosures required in the ED, along with the currently required material events disclosures related to market-sold securities that governments must comply with, would be sufficient and reasonable information related to direct borrowings and direct placements for use by regulators, investors, and other users of the financial statements. GFOA also supports the proposed separation of direct borrowings and direct placements from other offerings of debt (i.e., debt sold in the public markets) due to the inherent differences between direct offerings and debt sold in the public markets. The response letter suggested several improvements to the ED, including additional language for the definition of debt and changes to the notes to the financial statements section.

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Early Discount Deadline Is 1 Week Away for the November GAAP Update

Join our panel of presenters during the 22nd Annual Governmental GAAP Update web-stream event from 1 to 5 p.m. (Eastern) on November 2, 2017, with encore presentations on December 7, 2017, and January 18, 2018, as they discuss recent GASB statements, exposure drafts, and implementation guidance as well as other ongoing GASB projects, including the financial reporting model improvements to governmental funds. Register by September 29 to save with the early registration discount on the November offering.

Earn 4 CPE credits with your participation. If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.

Register today!

Brochure, including registration form / Online

For group discounts submit the registration form and attach the group spreadsheet for November, December, or January. The discount cannot be applied to registrations made online through GFOA’s e-store.

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Budget Better

There’s still time to sign up for GFOA’s Second Annual Better Budgeting web-stream event from 1 to 5 p.m. (Eastern) on October 5, 2017, with an encore presentation on January 11, 2018.

In this year’s now 4-hour training, speakers representing leading governments from across the United States will present best practice strategies, communicate lessons learned, debate budget approaches, and identify trends that all governments should be aware of in the budget process. The session will present practical strategies for implementing GFOA’s best practices in budgeting from a variety of perspectives including elected officials, the budget office, departments, and the public.

Earn 4 CPE credits with your participation. If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.

Register today!

Brochure, including registration form / Online

For group discounts submit the registration form and attach the group spreadsheet for October or January. The discount cannot be applied to registrations made online through GFOA’s e-store.

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Take Advantage of GFOA Training in the Southeast this December
There’s still time to register for one or more of the following courses at the Hyatt Place & Hyatt House Charleston Historic District in South Carolina:

Take advantage of home state, early, and group discounts. If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA. For information on activities for your stay, go to Meet Charleston.

Register today!

Brochure, including registration form / Online

For additional training opportunities, go to GFOA’s training schedule.

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First-Time Distinguished Budget Award Recipients Announced
The following jurisdictions are first-time winners of GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award: Town of Frederick, Colorado; City of Joliet, Illinois; Village of Roselle, Illinois; City of Shreveport, Louisiana; City of Oxford, Ohio; Township of Warminster, Pennsylvania; Village of New Glarus, Wisconsin; and City of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
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News Links
City Governments Facing Financial Slowdown

U.S. city governments could be headed toward their first financial slowdown after a period of post-recession growth. In its latest City Fiscal Conditions survey, the National League of Cities found receding confidence among municipal financial officials about the fiscal positions their cities are in, as well as lagging growth in revenue and spending compared to previous years.

Among city finance officers surveyed, 69% reported that their cities are “better able” to meet financial needs this year, compared to 2016 – compared with 81% in 2016 and it was 82% in 2015.

The survey also examines general fund revenue and spending trends. General fund revenues grew by about 2.6% in 2016, over 2015. Spending increased at a rate of 2.1%. Projections for 2017 suggest revenues will stagnate, with just 0.9% growth, according to the survey. Expenditures are expected to rise again by about 2.1%.

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Critics Ignore How Public Pensions Benefit U.S. Taxpayers, NCPERS Finds

Public pension plans are resilient, pose little burden on taxpayers, and stimulate the U.S. economy, according to the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems. The research report, “Public Pensions Are a Good Deal for Taxpayers,” dissects several arguments used by ideological organizations to discredit public pension funds on grounds that they are inadequately funded. NCPERS argues that underfunding levels are calculated using highly politicized processes in many states and should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, critics often advance the false imperative that cities and states should be able to cover their long-term pension liabilities with current revenues, but that’s not how advance funding models work.

The report walks through historical advantages that make public pensions resilient, bouncing back and growing even after recessions. It also shows how taxpayer contributions to public pensions are equal to or less than the revenues generated by investments in pension funds and spending by pension beneficiaries.

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Get More Comfortable with Providing Feedback
Managers have to give their employees feedback, but that doesn’t mean anyone enjoys it or gets anything out of it. Giving feedback is a skill that must be learned, so you’ll need to practice, according to Government Executive, which suggests ways around your hesitation. Getting it right will help you support employee development and minimize performance problems, and “a healthy feedback culture promotes high-quality dialog on sticky issues across your team.”
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Editor: Marcy Boggs  |  Executive Director/CEO: Chris Morrill 

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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