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GFOA Newsletter
December 15, 2016
Awards for Excellence Deadline Extended
Share Your Best Ideas with GFOA

Share your best ideas with GFOA. Has your government come up with an innovative way of funding its pension liabilities? Recently completed a pioneering project with a demonstrated positive economic impact? Created investing policies and practices for public funds? Or perhaps your financial transparency project has taken a groundbreaking approach to helping stakeholders access financial information? Developed inventive technology for budgeting, or citizen portals and links to back-office systems? Whatever area your government has excelled in, we invite you to share your innovations with GFOA by submitting an application for the 2017 Awards for Excellence.

Winning GFOA’s Award for Excellence is an honor — the highest level of professional acknowledgement within the public finance profession today. Winners also can be proud that their creativity and innovation will provide examples for other jurisdictions to follow, promoting best practices in government finance.

The deadline for entries has been extended to January 20, 2017.

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Association News
Need Year-End CPE Credit?
There’s Still Time to Register for Today’s How to Account for Capital Assets Internet Training

Virtually all state and local governments use capital assets, some of which are essentially unique to the public sector. Properly accounting for these assets can pose a real and ongoing challenge for accounting and auditing professionals. Today’s How to Account for Capital Assets Internet training, from 2 to 4 p.m. (Eastern), will combine lecture and exercises to address a number of commonly encountered practice issues including: capitalizable costs, classification, valuation, lifing, impairments, depreciation, financial statement presentation, disclosure, system design, and inventorying.

Earn 2 CPE credits with your participation. Click here for details and to register. If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA.

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Executive Board Nominating Committee Seeks Input

The GFOA Executive Board Nominating Committee is seeking recommendations for candidates to fill five at-large positions and the position of president-elect for the 2017-2018 GFOA Executive Board. All candidates must be active GFOA members. Please send nominations by December 31, 2016, to Heather Johnston, Past President, c/o GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Ste. 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210.

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Register Early and Save on GFOA’s Annual Conference

Sign up by January 26, 2017, to save with an early registration discount on GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference, May 21−24, 2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Register today!

Apply for a First-Time Attendee Scholarship

If you are a first-time annual conference attendee who is a GFOA active (government) member, we encourage you to apply for an annual conference scholarship in the amount of the full-conference registration fee. Fifty scholarships will be awarded per state or province in the order the applications are received. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, e-mail First Annual Conference. All scholarships available for the State of Colorado have already been awarded.

If you have any questions about the annual conference, contact GFOA.

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Call Your Representative Today
Preserve the Tax Exemption on Municipal Bond Interest

The Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee will convene to discuss the Blueprint for Tax Reform, a legislative proposal for comprehensive tax reform that will be introduced in the 115th Congress that begins in January. While the contents of the blueprint haven’t been made public, all exemptions (with the exception of the mortgage interest deduction and charitable donation deduction) are at risk in an initiative to simplify that tax code. 

Now is the time for GFOA members to engage their Congressional representation to explain how the municipal bond underpins our country’s infrastructure and drives our local economies. Reach out today and tell them: 

  • Tax-exempt bonds are the primary financing mechanism for state and local infrastructure projects—they have been used for more than 100 years and provide essential funding for states, counties, and localities.
  • Three-quarters of all public infrastructure projects in the United States are built by states and localities, and tax-exempt bonds are the primary financing tool utilized to satisfy these infrastructure needs.
  • If the tax exemption is eliminated or reduced, states and localities will pay more to finance projects, leading to fewer projects and fewer jobs, or project costs will be transferred to local tax and rate payers. 
  • Describe specific projects in your districts that municipal bonds have built!
Please feel free to access materials and to stay in touch via the FLC’s Federal Tax Exemption on Municipal Bond Interest Resource Center.
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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: City of Victoria, British Columbia; Soquel Creek Water District, California; City of Corona, California; City of Countryside, Illinois; City of Kechi, Kansas; City of Creswell, Oregon; San Antonio River Authority, Texas; Teacher Retirement System of Texas; Santaquin City, Utah; and Eagle Mountain City, Utah.

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News Links
States’ General Fund Spending Projected to Grow Slightly in 2017

States’ enacted budgets for fiscal 2017 project moderate general fund spending growth for the seventh consecutive year, according to the Fall 2016 Fiscal Survey of States from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Progress since the Great Recession has been uneven, however, and many states are seeing softening state tax collections. Key findings from the report include the following:

  • General fund revenue growth slowed in fiscal 2016, with 25 states ending the year with collections below budget forecast.
  • 19 states reported net mid-year budget reductions in fiscal 2016, a historically high number outside of a recessionary period.
  • 24 states so far are reporting fiscal 2017 general fund revenues coming in below projections, the highest number of states expecting revenue shortfalls at this time in the fiscal year since 2010.
  • States enacted a mix of tax increases and decreases effective in fiscal 2017.
  • Most states continue to bolster rainy day funds, despite slower revenue growth and other challenges.
Read More.
Public Servants List Benefits that Keep Them in their Jobs

Most public servants do not know how much they need to save for retirement and have not saved specifically for retiree medical expenses, according to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey of the State and Local Government Workforce, a new report from the TIAA Institute and the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. The report examines the employment and retirement planning and saving experiences of state and local government workers, as well as their confidence in their retirement income prospects. The report's major findings include the following:

  • Health insurance, retirement benefits, job security, and salary are the most important job elements public-sector workers would consider in deciding whether to switch employers.
  • Two-thirds of employees expect to receive retiree health-care benefits from an employer when they retire; among these, one-quarter reported changes to their benefits over the past two years.
  • One-third of public-sector employees have been with their current employer for less than 10 years, and one-third for 20 years or longer. Approximately two-thirds do not expect to leave their current employer anytime soon. 
  • Most public servants do not know how much they need to save for a comfortable retirement, nor have they planned and saved specifically for medical expenses in retirement.
  • Forty-four percent are very confident that they will receive all of the retirement plan benefits they have earned, and 44% are somewhat confident. The analogous figures for retiree healthcare benefits are 30% and 54%, respectively. Their confidence in future Social Security and Medicare benefits is lower.

To compete for talent, state and local governments need to examine how all components of their compensation packages fit together, from wages to retirement benefits to health care, the report concludes.

Read More.
The Best Ways to Lose Your Top Talent

Managing top talent is a concern—and, often, a problem—for both the public and private sector. Forbes put together a list of the ten main things large companies do to make their best employees leave:

  1. Bureaucracy leads to disenchanted employees, but usually because they didn’t have a say in the rules.
  2. Boredom—employees want projects that interest them. Driven people want to feel that they’re part of something and to do work they’re passionate about.
  3. Annual performance reviews often leave employee with the impression that the organization isn’t interested in them.
  4. Most bosses don’t talk to their employees about where they want to go in their careers, which is a major lost opportunity to show them they have a path forward in the organization.
  5. When top talent is given a major priority, they expect it to remain a priority. Frequent changes in direction create major frustration.
  6. “Hands off” isn’t the way to go. Talented employees appreciate feedback, insights, observations, and suggestions.
  7. “If you want to keep your best people, make sure they’re surrounded by other great people.” Top workers don’t like to be surrounded by coworkers who aren’t pulling their weight.
  8. The organization needs to offer an exciting vision for the future, and employees need to have a say in it.
  9. Giving employees a voice in the organization means listening to their ideas and not dismissing opposing voices.
  10. Great employees won’t continue to work for a not-great boss.
Read More.
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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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