Government Finance Review

Magazine covers financial management for state and local government through articles and commentary on best practices, management and more.

Articles from Vol. 24, No. 1, February

After Taxes, Economic Boom Reached Only a Few
Local governments that are considering tax increases should consider this: In recent years, post-tax income has been stagnant or actually dropped for many Americans. Only those earning the top 1 percent have seen a significant increase, according to...
In an Opeb Trust We Trust?
As public employers develop plans for managing their unfunded retiree healthcare liabilities, a key decision is how to fund the benefit. Prefunding, or funding the expense as employees earn the benefit, can pose significant advantages over pay-as-you-go,...
Information, Accountability Needed to Lower Health-Care Costs
Our current heath-care system doesn't encourage informed decisions about the costs and value of services, a major cause of the unsustainable growth in health-care spending that threatens "a very serious economic disruption," according to a recent report...
Long-Term Price Tag for States' Retirees
States have set aside funds to cover about 85 percent of their long-term pension costs, but only 3 percent of promised retiree healthcare and other non-pension benefits, according to a report from the Pew Center on the States, a subsidiary of The Pew...
Looking Back: Washington Review 2007
Congress' 2008 election-year agenda includes many areas of significance to the GFOA, including the subprime mortgage crisis, health-care reform, and economic stimulus.Congress ended its 2007 legislative year without the fanfare many Democrats predicted...
Meeting the Challenge: Transition Strategies
Meeting the Challenge: Transition Strategies The First 90 Days in Government: Critical Success Strategies for New Public Managers at All Levels By Peter H. Daly and Michael Watkins Harvard Business School Press 2006; 272 pages; $24.95Public leadership...
Opeb in Perspective: Gasb Statement No. 45 Four Years Later
Typically, a new accounting standard generates limited interest, at best, from those outside the accounting and auditing profession. Even the introduction of a new governmental financial reporting model in 1999 seems to have elicited only passing interest...
Pension Disclosure Update
GASB Statement No. 50 brings pension accounting and OPEB accounting even more closely into line.In 2006, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued an exposure draft (ED) that proposed some changes in the financial statement note disclosures...
Public Pension Investment Practices
In October 2007, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. conducted a survey on public pension investment practices. The survey asked about investment practices in an effort to discover how pension plans are...
Public-Sector EMPLOYERS Find ALTERNATIVE Medicine for Retiree BENEFIT Liabilities
Many public-sector employers are already required to assess and disclose future retiree health costs, and the rest are soon to follow.As finance officers are well aware, Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statements No. 43 and No. 45 kicked...
Results Minneapolis: Performance Measurement Guides Good Decisions
Minneapolis focuses on outcomes and results, as opposed to outputs and activity-based measures.Integration and alignment are the key characteristics of the performance measurement system developed by the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The city has strived...
Setting the Stage for Intergovernmental Cooperation
Laying the groundwork is key to the success of intergovernmental service sharing.Previous articles in this magazine1 have made the case for intergovernmental service sharing economies of scale, greater uniformity and higher service levels, reduced duplication,...
Strategies for Funding Postemployment Benefits
[from the editor]As the Governmental Accounting Standards Board's Statement No. 45 kicks in for public employers of all sizes (from the fiscal year ending December 31, 2007, for the largest governments to the fiscal year ending December 31, 2009, for...
Taming the Tiger: Opeb Cost Containment
Public-sector employers provide post-employment benefits other than pensions to approximately 5.5 million retirees and carry a combined unfunded other postemployment benefit (OPEB) liability of as much as $1.5 trillion dollars, according to recent estimates.1...
Tapping the Talent on College Campuses - the Future Is Now!
A new national survey of college students reveals how the public sector can compete more effectively for the best and the brightestMargot, a business student with good grades at a major university, is looking for a job. Will she consider government?...
The Five Big Errors of PerformanceStat
As I've studied over a dozen examples of PerformanceStat, I have been struck by how many programs do not quite appreciate (or at least employ) some of the core principles of the strategy.First there was CompStat, created by then - New York City Police...
Wellness Programs - Are They Worth It?
The City of Garland, Texas, netted almost $400 savings per participant from its pilot wellness initiative program.Editor's note: The GFOAs Web site includes an OPEB Toolkit including case studies like this one, as well as methodologies and other resources...
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