Indiana University SPEA hosts Budgeting Microconference, May 1st & 2nd

IU_V_P2_S1The School of Public & Environmental Affairs at Indiana University will host the microconference, “Federal, State, and Local Budgets in Jeopardy: A Conference on America’s Fiscal Future” from Thursday, April 30th, to Saturday, May 2nd, on their campus in Bloomington, IN.

This conference features numerous plenary panels on a variety of budgeting issues at all levels of government. Topics include budget reform, forecasting, policy and fiscal federalism. Research from noted scholars will provide the focus for each session, with commentary from expert and experienced discussants.

The conference will start with a reception on Thursday evening, followed by sessions all day Friday and Saturday morning.

In addition, a keynote speech by Paul Posner of George Mason University will evaluate the growing environment of “Fiscal Austerity and the Eclipse of ‘Fend-for-Yourself-Federalism.”

Click here for registration, conference schedule and lodging information.  For more information, contact Allison Howell at

GASB Seeks Input on Debt Refundings and Other Debt Extinguishments

By David Bean, GASB Director of Research & Technical Activities

NewGASBAs someone who needs financial information about state and local governments, your views are vital to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) efforts to improve accounting and financial reporting.
The GASB is currently conducting pre-agenda research on the effectiveness of governmental financial reporting requirements for debt refundings and debt extinguishments in general.

  • The objective of this research is to gather feedback on these broad questions:Are the reporting and disclosure requirements related to debt refundings and debt extinguishments in general effective in providing information that is essential for decision-making and that enhances the ability to assess a government’s accountability?
  • How do the costs of reporting this information compare with the perceptions of the benefits of the resulting information?

As part of the research effort, the GASB has developed an online survey to gather feedback from users of governmental financial information.  The survey may be accessed by following this link:

You do not need to complete the entire survey in one session.  If you save your responses, you will be provided an individualized link to return to your survey at a later date to complete it.

We greatly appreciate your feedback and request that you complete the survey by Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Your input is essential to the GASB’s standards-setting process.  If you would like to respond to the survey by phone or have any questions, please feel free to contact a member of the project team at  We look forward to hearing from you.

Continued Economic Growth Forecast in 2015, Despite Expected Weaker Start

Mark Vitner, Wells Fargo Economics Group

By Kenneth Hunter

This week’s update from Wells Fargo Economics Group’s Mark Vitner suggests slowing in economic growth due to broadening of trade deficits and reductions in capital spending.

“A big part of the slowdown has been a turnaround in trade, where we have seen a widening of the trade deficit that cut a little bit off the fourth quarter growth, and it’s probably going to be a drag in the first quarter as well,” said Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner.

“Some of (decline in capital spending) is tied to lower energy prices and oil companies cutting back on their capital spending budgets,” Vitner said. “It’s something we’re going to deal with over the course of the year, but CapEx really hasn’t really been a strong suit throughout the recovery.”

Vitner and his group lowered their First Quarter 2015 GDP forecast to an annualized growth rate of 1.5%, lower than outlooks offered by most other economists.

“Going into the first quarter, most folks were around 3%, and the latest look that I saw in the consensus had growth around 2.5%,” Vitner said.

In January, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker shared the consensus view of The Federal Reserve for National GDP growth of 2.5% to 3% for the coming year.

Lacker stated growth rates could increase above post-recession averages and return to historic trends closer to 3% as a result of increased consumer spending and a decline in the savings rate. Strengthening labor markets, leading to workforce limitations and higher wages in specialized fields and growing sectors, may also have an impact.

Lacker also expressed concern over continued challenges, including the lack of full recovery in the housing market, indicated by sluggish sales activity and limited new construction. Also, while export activity has made significant gains in the past couple years, potential declines due to weak markets abroad could restrain recent growth in domestic manufacturing.

Lacker indicated the Federal Open Market Committee has no pre-set timetable for raising the federal funds rate above the long-held mark of 0-0.25%, though the rate could increase if inflation becomes an issue.  Current measures indicate consumer prices remaining at or below 2% growth in the coming year.

Vitner expressed concern in regards to the status of the Fed funds rate. “For all the improvement that we’ve seen, the economy is still fairly fragile and moving away from the zerobound is difficult,” he said.

The latest revision for Fourth Quarter GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis was an annualized rate of 2.6%. Third Quarter GDP growth was revised to 5.0% annual rate.

Click Here for Wells Fargo February Economic Update

Comments Sought for March GASB Meeting

From Dan Smith
ABFM Representative

SmithAs your representative to the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC), I write to inform you of the topics on which GASB will seek GASAC member feedback at the next meeting. It will be in Norwalk, CT March 9-10.

The topics to be covered are are:

  • Asset retirement obligations
  • Debt extinguishments pre-agenda research (memo and one attachment)
  • External investment pools
  • GAAP hierarchy
  • Other postemployment benefits (OPEB)
  • Tax abatement disclosures
  • Technical plan priorities discussion (cover memo and four attachments)

Click here to download the first set of discussion papers on the meeting’s agenda

If you would like me to provide any input on your behalf, please write me directly at

One-Day Registrations for 2015 ASPA Conference Now Available!

Regbrochurefrontx250The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is offering attractive one-day registration rates for its Annual Conference. The discount rates offer an opportunity for public administrators to spend a day networking with more than 1,000 public managers and scholars from across the United State and the globe. ASPA’s Annual Conference is one of the largest meetings for public administrators.

ASPA’s Annual Conference offers more than 30 panels daily as well as workshops on topics of relevance and importance to today’s public manager. From public budgeting, emergency planning to building accountability and transparency, attendees hear from 400 plus experts. To see a list of already confirmed panels, click here. One day registration rates start at $189 for ASPA members and $249 for non-members. Register now.

One session of specific interest to public finance scholars and practitioners will be held Friday, March 6th, from 12 noon until 1:30 p.m., titled “The Impact of Detroit and other Credit Challenges on Municipal Finance and the Municipal Bond Market,” featuring:

Moderator: Michael Pagano, University of Illinois of Chicago


Richard Ciccarone, President & CEO, Merritt Research Services, Co-Publisher & Co-Owner of MuniNet

Rich Ciccarone is a nationally recognized expert in municipal bonds. He has received more than 20 awards and distinctions from Institutional Investor, Smith’s Research & Gradings, Global Guaranty, The Bond Buyer and the National Federation of Municipal Analysts.

Robert Muller,  Managing Director,  JP Morgan Securities

Bob Muller was ranked an “All ‐ American Analyst” eleven times in various categories, including six first place awards as a transportation sector analyst.  He also has been a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Smith’s Research and Ratings Review and the NFMA’s Award of Excellence.

James Spiotto, Managing Director,  Chapman Strategic Advisors

As a lawyer, Jim Spiotto has represented issuers, indenture trustees or bondholders in litigation, bankruptcy or workouts of over 400 troubled debt financings in over 35 different states and foreign countries.   He is co-author of The Law of State and Local Government Debt Financing (Thompson West) and author of Municipalities in Distress? (Chapman and Cutler).  He has also authored chapters in The Handbook of Municipal Bonds (Sylvan Feldstein and Frank Fabozzi, editors, John Wiley & Sons) and the Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government Finance (Robert D. Ebel and John E. Peterson, editors)

Kenneth A. Kriz, Regents Distinguished Professor of Public Finance, Director, Kansas Public Finance Center, Wichita State University

Kenneth Kriz is a well-regarded scholar on municipal debt, pension economics and policy and government financial risk management. A Ph.D. graduate of Indiana University and publisher of over 20 articles and book chapters on these topics, Ken is a prior Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Estonia (2004-05) and Fulbright Senior Specialist in the Czech Republic (2008).

New Executive Committee Members look forward to service

On January 1st, ABFM’s Executive Committee welcomed three new members for the start of their 3-year terms. Each of these individuals share unique knowledge, experience and perspective on the field of public sector finance, and are looking forward to making contributions to the association during their upcoming service in leadership.

GuoHai (David) Guo joined ABFM in 2007. He is an assistant professor of public administration at Florida International University. He is also currently serving as the co-managing editor of the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management.

“I am excited and honored to be elected as the new ABFM Executive Committee member,” Dr. Guo said. “I will work with other members and officers to make ABFM continue to excel in every aspect.”

Dr. Guo’s research interests include budgetary institution and fiscal policy outcome, public engagement in budgetary process, local government financial management under fiscal stress, and infrastructure pricing and financing. As a public administration scholar, he has published in Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, American Review of Public Administration, Journal of Public Budgeting Accounting & Financial Management, Municipal Finance Journal, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Public Works Management & Policy, and Public Procurement. Dr. Guo holds his Ph.D. degree in Public Policy from the Joint Doctoral program of public policy of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Public Policy. He obtained his master degree in Economics from Georgia State University and a master degree of Public Administration from Iowa State University.

SmirnovaOlga Smirnova has been a very active member of ABFM since joining in 2009. Dr. Smirnova is an assistant professor at the MPA program, the Department of Political Science, East Carolina University. Her research interests include transportation, green transportation innovations, institutional stability, economic development, social networks, performance measurement, and visualizations of complex systems. She has published in the Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Transportation, Public Works Management and Policy, International Journal of Cybercriminology, Southeastern Geographer, Municipal Finance Journal, North Carolina Geographer, and Administration and Society.

Dr. Smirnova has received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She received her master degree in Political Science from Central European University, Budapest Hungary. She is a regular presenter at ABFM conferences and has served on select committees within the organization.

SullivanBryan Sullivan joined ABFM in 1989. He serves as Director of Management Efficiency for the State of Delaware’s Office of Management and Budget, Budget Development, Planning and Administration section. Bryan earned his M.P.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.

Bryan is returning this year to service on the Executive Committee after prior service as Treasurer (2007 to 2012) and Executive Committee member (2004-2006). He’s also served on multiple award committees, the Membership Committee and on planning committees for several annual conferences.

“I am excited to rejoin ABFM’s Executive Committee and I look forward to working with committee members as we address organizational and professional issues,” said Bryan. “This is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to and lead the way to enhancing he future of public budgeting and financial management, both nationally and internationally.”






CBO Celebrating 40th Anniversary on February 24th

40th-Logo-Sized-for-WebThe Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a special event featuring a panel of past CBO directors on Tuesday, February 24th, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center’s Congressional Auditorium.

Keynote remarks will be made by Alice Rivlin, the CBO’s first Director, who served from 1975 to 1983. She is now a Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution. She will be joined afterward to discuss the agency’s past and future with a panel of the following former CBO Directors:

  • Rudolph G. Penner (1983-1987), Senior Fellow with The Urban Institute
  • Robert D. Reischauer (1986-1995), President Emeritus of The Urban Institute
  • June E. O’Neill (1995-1999), Professor of Economics at Baruch College
  • Dan L. Crippen (1999-2003), Director of the National Governors Association
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin (2003-2005), President of the American Action Forum
  • Peter R. Orzag (2007-2008), Vice-President of Corporate & Investment Banking at Citigroup

Panelists will also answer questions from the audience. For more information, call Deborah Kilroe at (202) 226-2602 or email

Media must register in advance to attend the event (click here). Credentialed press must register by 5:30 p.m. on Monday, February 23rd, and bring valid photo identification for entry. News organizations sending cameras should plan to arrive for set-up no later than 11:30 a.m. the day of the event.




Call for Proposals for the 27th Annual ABFM Conference

October 1-3, 2015, Washington (DC) Marriott Hotel


Deadline for submissions: April 10, 2015

Click Here to Submit Panel Proposals 

Click Here to Submit Paper Proposals 

The Association for Budgeting and Financial Management invites you to submit a session panel proposal or paper for the 2015 ABFM Conference. This year’s collaborative conference will be held October 1-3, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The focus of the conference is on budgeting and financial management at all levels of United States government as well as international and comparative perspectives. Practitioners as well as academics are encouraged to submit proposals. A list of panel topics include but are not limited to the list below.

Please submit all paper and panel proposals by April 10, 2015, through the online submission forms (links above). Please direct questions to me at Proposals will be reviewed and competitively selected.

We look forward to hearing how you are advancing public finance through your work and research!


Carolyn Bourdeaux, ABFM Conference Chair

Selected Conference Topics

  • Federal & State Fiscal Challenges
  • The Politics of Budgetary Process
  • Budget Balancing Strategies
  • Tax Policy & Administration
  • Budgeting in Poor Countries
  • Executive & Legislative Budget Politics
  • Transportation Policy & Finance
  • Budget Reform, Innovation & Process
  • Forecasting
  • Intergovernmental Finance
  • Performance Budgeting
  • Debt Financing & Management
  • Accounting & Financial Reporting
  • Nonprofit Financial Issues
  • Managing Financial Risk
  • Budgetary Theory
  • International & Comparative Budgeting
  • Federal Stimulus Reporting & Outcomes
  • History of Budgeting
  • Budgeting & Economic Development
  • Citizen Participation in Budgeting
  • Current Trends in Public Finance
  • Funding Healthcare
  • Financial Leadership
  • Municipal Securities
  • Budgeting for National Security
  • Investing Public Funds
  • Revenue Diversification
  • Capital Planning & Management
  • Education Finance


Position Opening – Senior Research Associate, Andrew Young School Fiscal Research Center (Georgia State Univ.)

Click Here to Access Description & Online Application

GSUyoungfrcSenior Research Associate


$65,000 to $80,000


Andrew Young School of Policy Studies – Fiscal Research Center and the Center for State and Local Finance is looking for a Senior Research Associate. This position is an advanced level Economist role that will lead, initiate and conduct reviews, research, and analysis of state tax expenditures and other fiscal policy matters; analyze data using statistical techniques to prepare estimates for regular reporting; initiate research on issues related to tax policy, economic, and demographic trends; and track policy development in Georgia and other states.


Master’s degree and 4 years of experience, or a combination of education and experience.

Preferred Hiring Qualifications

An ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. and the ability to review, research and analyze state tax policies and conduct statistical analysis at a highly sophisticated level. Candidate must provide excellent written and oral presentations to key senior staff and policy-makers.

Special Instructions

An application, resume and cover letter are required for consideration.  Final candidates will provide three references.

Georgia State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against applicants due to race, ethnicity, gender, veteran status, or on the basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

JBPAFM Issues Call for Papers for Capital Budgeting Symposium Issue



Symposium Issue Capital Budgeting Theory and Practice

Guest Editors: Dr. Arwiphawee Srithongrung, Wichita State University

Dr. Wie Yusuf, Old Dominion University

The Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management invites scholars and practitioners to submit articles on topics related to the theories and practice of capital planning and capital budgeting. The economic competitiveness and social well-being of countries, states, regions and cities are dependent upon availability, accessibility, and quality of core public infrastructure systems, which result from key capital investments such as highways, road and bridges, high-speed rails, local energy production plants, and public school and state health facilities.    In 2007, state and local governments across country spent $325 billion in total on core public infrastructure (U.S. Census, 2014). Given that subnational public capital outlay is relatively large and that public infrastructure is vital to the country’s socio-economic environment, understanding how public capital spending decisions are made and how the theory and lessons learned can be applied to practice is extremely important.

  • Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Theories of capital budgeting
  • Innovative capital budgeting techniques and practices
  • Capital planning and budgeting decisions
  • Lessons learned from and/or challenges to capital budgeting
  • Performance budgeting for capital projects
  • The capital planning and budgeting process
  • Innovative financing approaches for capital projects
  • Case studies of applications of capital budgeting in specific domains (e.g., transportation, economic development, public health)

Articles should be approximately 25 double-spaced typewritten pages, although shorter or longer manuscripts will not be excluded from consideration.  Articles must be submitted by June 15, 2015. Articles should clearly articulate its contributions and linkage to the symposium theme.  All articles will be blind reviewed.  Manuscripts should follow JPBAFM’s submission guidelines ( and indicate the symposium title in the comments to the editors.


Questions should be directed to the co-editors via e-mail:

Dr. Arwiphawee Srithongrung

Dr. Wie Yusuf