Elections Coming in July! Join & Renew Now!


This is a reminder that ABFM elections are in July.  The ballot will be distributed electronically to the email addresses of current members. The ballot will not be distributed to the ABFM listserv or Line Item.  Therefore, you must have a current membership in order to vote.



Conference Chair Offers ABFM 2015 Update

By Carolyn Bourdeaux, 2015 ABFM Conference Chair

Carolyn BourdeauxThe 27th annual ABFM conference is shaping up to be a great one. With many excellent papers covering a wide range of budget and finance topics, this conference will be one not to miss.

All three days are filled with interesting topics and discussions, including the two scheduled plenaries. On Thursday afternoon there will be a panel featuring Len Burman Executive Director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center with the topic tentatively set as “Income Inequality in the Modern Economy”. Then on Friday morning, we will host a special plenary, “Reflecting on CBO’s 40th Anniversary,” looking back at the history, accomplishments and importance of the Congressional Budget Office. Several former CBO directors, including Alice Rivlin, Doug Elmendorf, and Rudy Penner will be on hand for this special session.

Other highlights for this year’s panels include topics such as the Federal DATA Act, Social Impact Bonds, and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s 40th Anniversary. There will also be a series of high profile panels around fiscal stress at the state, local and nonprofit levels.

Click Here for Conference Information

Click Here to Register

Click Here for Hotel Reservations ($219/Night, Plus Taxes)

Click Here for Sponsorship Information

Please make plans to attend! The conference will kick off at 8:30 on Thursday October 1st and will run through noon on Saturday October 3rd.

We hope to see everyone in DC!

State & Local Tax Revenues Continue Growth

By Kenneth Hunter
Line Item Editor

State and local government tax revenues continue an ongoing trend of overall growth, according to the latest release of quarterly collections from the Census Bureau.

2015Q1 State and Local Taxes RevTheir summary of revenues for the first quarter of 2015 show combined collections of more than $306.7 Billion, up 4% compared to the same period last year. Individual income (+6.4%) and sales taxes (+4.5%) drove growth during the period, outpacing property tax (+2.4%) and making up for losses in corporate income tax (-0.2%)

Quarterly performance is consistent with growth over the past 12 months. Overall revenues during this time were $1.27 Trillion, up 3.1% compared to the same period 12 months earlier. Sales tax (+4.3%) has outpaced property (+2.9%), individual income (+2.4%) and corporate income (+2.6%) during this period.

Several states have taken actions redirecting their taxes away from income basis and towards sales basis, broadening the sales tax base to include more services. In addition, more Internet-based sales are now subject to state sales tax due to expansion of their physical facilities, especially major distributors like Amazon. Implementation of local sales tax referendums, often for designated services such as public transportation, also have an impact.

On the income tax side, states like North Carolina have reduced personal and corporate income tax rates. Since these adjustments are aligned with increasing share of revenues generated from sales tax, lower or reduced collection performance is predictable. At the same time, increases across all classes in the past year reflect the value of economic development happening in many, but not all, parts of the country.

From Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue for 2015: Q1 June 2015)

From Quarterly Summary of State and Local
Government Tax Revenue for 2015: Q1 June 2015)

The Census Bureau’s summary of First Quarter 2015 data reports property and corporate income tax levels have changed little since the start of the recession in 2008. Most of the growth in state tax revenue for local and state governments during the same timeframe comes from individual income and sales taxes. Local governments, the primary recipients of property tax revenue, continue dealing with reduced property assessments as result of the recessionary housing bubble and other local factors. At the same time, local elected officials are reluctant to increase tax rates, unless it becomes absolutely necessary.

Click Here to Access Data

Click Here for Information Sheet

The Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenue provides quarterly estimates of state and local government tax revenue at a national level, as well as detailed tax revenue data for individual states.  This quarterly survey has been conducted continuously since 1962. The information contained in this survey is the most current information available on a nationwide basis for government tax collections.

State & Local Hirings, Retirements Increase

Health Benefits, Recruitment, Retention remain challenges

Reprinted from Center for State & Local Government Excellence

For the second year in a row, state and local governments are hiring. In a survey of state and local government human resources managers, 73 percent reported hiring employees in the past year (up from 66 percent in last year’s survey), and 54 percent hired more people than they did in 2013. At the same time, 47 percent of respondents noted that the number of retirements was higher than in 2013.

Click Here to Download Survey Results

For the sixth year in a row, a majority of respondents (53 percent in this survey) reported making changes to health care benefits. Shifting costs to employees, such as higher premiums, copayments, and deductibles, was reported by 43 percent of respondents. Changes to retirement benefit plans slowed in the past year, with 29 percent making changes compared to 35 percent in the previous year.

For many governments, there is a sense of urgency about recruitment, retention, and succession planning. As one respondent wrote, “Between now and 2020, we are looking at 40 percent of the workforce being able to retire.” Other top-ranked workforce concerns were staff development, competitive compensation packages, and being able to retain the staff needed for core services.

This report reflects the survey responses of members of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (ipma-hr.org) and National Association of State Personnel Executives (naspe.net). The online survey was conducted from March 30 to April 20, 2015 by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (slge.org) with 336 members submitting responses.

Study shows Public Pension Plans better funded

Republished from Pension & Investments

Most public pension plans improved their funded status in 2014 and are likely to be more than 80% funded by 2018, according to a report released Friday by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence in Washington.

Authors Alicia Munnell and Jean-Pierre Aubry, director and assistant director of State and Local Research, respectively, at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, looked at 150 plans whose $3.2 trillion in assets represent 90% of public plan assets, and found their funded status improved to 74% from 72% the previous year.

State and local government officials also did a better job of making their annual required contributions, increasing to 88% of the ARC, up from 82% in 2013. “I think that’s encouraging on a lot of levels,” Elizabeth Kellar, SLGE president and CEO, said in an interview. “Plan sponsors recognize that the only way to get on top of it is to pay their required contributions, and revenues are improving.”

It’s encouraging, she said, that most plans are moving in a positive direction.

Mr. Aubry noted in an interview that plans have made many reforms in recent years. “The really big question is investment returns,” he said. The report’s 2018 projections were based on baseline scenarios of the plans reaching their respective assumed rate of return, which averaged 7.6% among plans.

The report is available on the Center for State and Local Government Excellence’s website.

New ASPA Partnership provides Online Teaching Resources

Republished from PA Times

The Public Administration Gateway (the Gateway) is a free, comprehensive resource portal for public administration, public policy, and public affairs established by the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University-Newark and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA).

Through the PAGateway, users are able to access thousands of case studies, simulations, publications and other pedagogical resources, such as the Third Edition of NASPAA’s Teaching Resources Guide for Public Affairs and Administration. Users can also access hundreds of up-to-date statistical datasets covering a dozen core topics in public administration and public policy areas, as well as extensive collections of library resources, research portals, archives, historical documents, journals, books, etc.

Sign into the Gateway at https://pagateway.newark.rutgers.edu/ or simply search “Public Administration Gateway” to explore and employ thousands of resources for research and careers in public affairs and administration.

Next GASB/GASAC Meetings July 20th-21st

From Dan Smith
ABFM Representative

As 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 Nashville, TN July 20-21.

The topics to be discussed are:

  • Asset retirement obligations
  • Debt extinguishments, including debt refundings
  • Fiduciary responsibilities
  • Leases
  • Tax abatement disclosures

If you would like me to provide any input on your behalf, please write me directly at daniel.smith@nyu.edu.

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 daniel.smith@nyu.edu.

June 30th Deadline for ABFM Award Nominations

Nominations are being accepted until June 30th for three annual awards presented by ABFM for member accomplishments in the field of public finance. Applications for each award will be reviewed by select committees, with presentations scheduled for Friday, October 2nd, during the 2015 ABFM Conference in Washington, DC.

Members are encouraged to nominate individuals they believe are deserving of recognition for one of the following awards:

Michael Curro Award

Graduate students who have written outstanding papers in the field as part of a course, independent study, or other faculty supervised projects are eligible. The paper must be nominated by a faculty supervisor and must have been written between June 2014 and June 2015. It may not have been previously presented at a professional conference. Papers written by more than one student are not eligible. The papers can represent a variety of formats and topics within the broader interests of ABFM. In the past, they have included traditional research efforts, critical literature comparisons, or analyses of financial documents. The topics have ranged across the discipline to include papers on federal budgeting, local government financing, state revenue sources, capital planning, trends in debt issuance, financial and accounting practices, and financing of specific policy functions.

Papers will be judged by both academic and practitioner members of ABFM and will be evaluated according to general criteria: contribution to the field, the appropriateness of the methodology, the quality of the research analysis, clarity of writing, logic of presentation, and originality and creativity. Faculty members responsible for nominating students should send a letter of nomination that includes the student’s name, the degree the student is pursuing, the school name, when the paper was written, and the thesis or purpose of the paper. If the paper was written for a class, please include the name of the course and when the course was offered. If the paper was part of the student’s extracurricular duties, please describe these duties. A financial award and commemorative plaque will be presented to the winner. Authors of other top papers not selected will be encouraged to present their papers in appropriate ABFM panels. Conference registration will also be waived for the winner.

Nomination letters and copies of student papers should be sent as e-mail (.doc file or PDF) attachments by June 30th to Committee Chair, Robert Bifulco, rbifulco@maxwell.syr.edu.

S. Kenneth Howard Award

This award is presented to honor the lifetime accomplishments of S. Kenneth Howard. It granted annually to a distinguished practitioner in the field of public budgeting and financial management for lifetime achievement. The award recipient should be an outstanding practitioner as judged by his or her record of service over a sustained period of time.

Nominations should include a 1-2 page letter outlining the significant accomplishments of the nominee, the nominee’s vitae, and no more than two additional letters of recommendation.

Howard award nominations should be sent by June 30th to Committee Chair, Charles Menifield, menifieldc@missouri.edu.

Aaron B. Wildavsky Award

This award is conferred to honor the lifetime scholarly accomplishments of Aaron B. Wildavsky.  It is granted annually to a distinguished scholar in the field of public budgeting and financial management for lifetime achievement.  The award recipient should be an outstanding scholar as judged by his or her record of publication and service to the field over a sustained period of time.

Nominations should include a 1-2 page letter outlining the significant accomplishments of the nominee, the nominee’s vitae, and no more than two additional letters of recommendation.

Nominations should be sent by June 30th to Robert Kravchuk, kravchuk@indiana.edu.

All award nominations are due to Committee Chairs by June 30th. Click here for more information on these awards and lists of past winners.

Job Announcement: Sr. Budget Analyst, Tufts University

Click Here to Apply

Senior Budget Analyst

This is an exciting time to work at Tufts University.  As part of the Tufts Effectiveness in Administrative Management initiative (http://team.tufts.edu/), a shared service Budget Center will open in the summer of 2015.  The Budget Center is a service organization that provides information and analyses to school, college, and administrative decision makers, enabling them to align program priorities with resources.  The Tufts Budget Center seeks to fill the positions listed below by June 2015.

The Senior Analyst will report to the Director of Budget Services and support the operation of the Budget Center.  The Senior Analyst will serve as the main contact to schools, colleges, and administrative units in coordinating with university leadership to provide guidance on budget development, monitoring, and forecasting budgets.

Position Requirements

The ideal candidate will possess the competencies listed below as is normally acquired by completion of a Bachelors degree and 5 – 7 years experience working with budgets or in a financial management setting.

Minimum Competencies

  • Demonstrated experience in relationship management and strong customer service focus
  • Demonstrated experience working with senior staff across an organization
  • Ability to work effectively with highly diverse clients and colleagues
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong accounting skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills

Preferred Additional Competencies

  • Previous experience working in a higher education setting
  • Experience working with budget information systems

About Tufts University

Founded in 1852, Tufts University is a prestigious student-centered research university committed to excellence in the creation and application of knowledge with a passion for collaboration, a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, and a drive to innovate.

Tufts is comprised of nine schools spanning three campuses, enrolling approximately 5,100 undergraduates, 2,900 students in graduate programs, and 1,900 professional school students.  The University has $3 billion in assets, an operating budget of $800 million and a five-year capital budget of $400 million.  The University’s financial management reflects Tufts’ complexity, depth and breadth, and its entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit.

Tufts University is an AA/EO employer and actively seeks candidates from diverse backgrounds. Please see the Tufts University non-discrimination statement.

Apply Here: http://www.Click2apply.net/zhwxjm3

Deadline May 29th for GASB Research Grants

NewGASBThe Governmental Accounting Standards Bureau is offering to help assist academic research relevant to the organization’s standards-setting activities through the Gil Crain Memorial Research Grant program. They have issued a Request for Research announcement and are accepting proposals until May 29th, 2015, with announcements of awards expected by the end of June 2015.

One or more $5,000 grants will be awarded.

The GASB hopes that the Crain Grants will encourage researchers to conduct research that is beneficial to standards setting for governmental accounting and financial reporting. Researchers will benefit by working with GASB staff members and by learning more about the internal workings of the standards-setting process. The GASB staff also may be able to help by introducing you to knowledgeable professionals and by encouraging them to participate in your research. Upon completion of your research, the GASB intends to mail a letter of appreciation to your university for allowing you to participate in an important GASB research project.

We encourage researchers who receive a grant to submit the results of their research for publication in a journal after the research results have been submitted to the GASB. Because the research that is most useful to the GASB is applied research, we realize that you may wish to consider the work that you do for the GASB as part of a larger research effort. Therefore, we generally support your gathering additional data that would be needed for publication.

Although intangible, a final reason for conducting research with the GASB is the personal satisfaction that you will receive in knowing that you have played an important role in improving governmental accounting and financial reporting standards. We encourage you to be a part of the GASB team by researching some of the questions raised in this call for proposals or other relevant topics.

Click Here to Download the Request for Research Packet and Application

Here is a summary of application requirements and submission protocol:

If you are interested in requesting Crain Grant funding to research any of the questions raised for the topics in the Research Questions section of this request for proposals—or another important and relevant topic—send a request for research funding to David Bean, GASB Director of Research and Technical Activities, by May 29, 2015. Therequest for research funding should be attached as a Microsoft Word document in an email to drbean@gasb.org.

The request should include:

  • The research question(s) that you propose to research
  • A description of how you believe your research will help answer the question(s) and benefit the GASB
  • A thorough description of the research design that you plan to use; this discussion should be as specific as possible and, at a minimum, include a description of the research method (for example, archival, survey, experimental or quasiexperimental research, case study, and so on), why you believe the method is appropriate, and a description of how you expect to collect data for the research
  • A description of any limitations that you foresee regarding the validity of your research results
  • A timeline for completing the research and preparing a final report for the GASB; this timeline should meet the parameters for reporting back to the GASB, which are described in the next section.

If you have any questions regarding the content of the request for research funding, please contact Dean Mead, GASB Research Manager, at (203) 956-5294 or

The GASB will make a determination of the recipient(s) of the research grant(s) by the end of June 2015, and the recipient(s) will be notified and will receive an initial $2,500 soon after they sign a contract with the GASB. The contract will explain the duties and responsibilities of the GASB and researcher and will describe the deliverables that the GASB expects from the researcher. Upon completion of the research and the GASB’s acceptance of the research memorandum, the remainder of the grant will be sent to the researcher. The maximum amount to be paid to a grant recipient is $5,000. The grant recipient may share the grant with others who help conduct the research.