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New GASB Pension Rules’ Impact on Bond Ratings

Affecting state and local governments that issue bonds assessed by rating agencies, Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) Statements No. 67 and No. 68 feature new pension reporting rules that add significant liabilities to governmental balance sheets. Effective earlier this year, the new rules have concerned numerous plan sponsors, as well as are potentially detrimental to government budgets that rely heavily on state and municipal bonds for funding. However, the new reporting rules will not impact most public plan sponsors’ credit ratings, and each locality should become aware of what rating agencies are intending to do. For the full article , visit the. Read More.

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GASB Issues Technical Plan for the Rest of 2014

Similar to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board releasing an updated agenda for the rest of the year, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) has announced its Technical Plan for the Last Four Months of 2014 (Technical Plan). According to the Technical Plan, the GASB will continue discussions regarding projects on its current technical agenda, release three due process documents, and start pre-agenda research on specified external investment pools’ accounting and financial reporting efforts. In addition, the GASB is expected to perform pre-agenda research on Debt Extinguishments, External Investment Pools, and the Financial Reporting Model. For the Technical Plan’s overview , please visit the GASB website. Also check out Cherry Bekaert’s Government Services industry page for information on. Read More.

GASB Plans for Three-Day Meeting This Week

Beginning tomorrow, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) will hold a three-day meeting in Norwalk, Connecticut. Scheduled to start each day at 8:30 a.m., the meetings are expected to cover the preballot drafts of the Preliminary Views Leases and Fiduciary Responsibility for Financial Reporting, and Exposure Draft of the proposed Tax Abatement Disclosures, as well as fair value measurement and application, and matters related to pension plans not managed through trusts that meet certain criteria. With the exception of Wednesday’s late afternoon session, the meetings are open for public viewing. Attendees will be able to follow the meetings via live. Read More.

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Green Bonds Growing in Popularity

Reflecting the growing demand of investors, municipal bond fund managers are turning their attention to bonds associated with funding sustainable and environmental projects. Known as “green bonds,” the issuance of such bonds within the first six months of 2014 was $20 billion, an amount equivalent to total sales of the last seven years. According to the Bond Buyer, investors are attracted to green funds not just for the return, but to help promote conservation and counter the effects of global warming. Further, the popularity of green bonds has attracted investors that had not recently bought munis. For the complete story. Read More.

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Poll Discusses Americans’ Local Government Satisfaction Level

In a recent poll by the Atlantic Media/Siemens “State of the City”, Americans are generally happy with their local government and the services they receive. On average, per a Citylab report that covered the poll’s results, “Whether men or women, whether white, black, or Hispanic, in every region and locality, of any age or income group, respondents said that the government services they received were a decent value for the local taxes they paid.” Despite the results, however, most respondents were in favor of tax cuts and lesser spending. Additionally, the poll discovered major racial and demographic differences in spending. Read More.

2014 Green Book Announced by the GAO

Replacing the edition issued in November 1999, an update to the Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government ( 2014 Green Book ) has been issued by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”). With more in-depth information than before, the 2014 Green Book retains the five components of internal control from previous versions and offers 17 new principles that detail management’s responsibilities to implement and manage an effective internal control system. The 2014 Green Book goes into effect starting fiscal year 2016 and will pertain to the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act reports from that year. Federal management can choose early adoption of. Read More.

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