2020 Annual Conference Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

By Jonathan Justice, Chair-Elect and 2020 Conference Chair

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ABFM has been forced to cancel the 2020 conference which had been scheduled to take place September 24-26 in Miami, Florida.

We do expect to present a limited number of online activities in late September and early October this year, tentatively including a virtual awards ceremony, a graduate-student showcase, a roundtable session on potential changes to GASB’s reporting model for state and local governments, and a small number of select research panels. Please be on the lookout for more information about these plans in the weeks to come, and please feel free to send your suggestions for virtual-conference content, scheduling, and/or format to abfmconference2020@gmail.com.

The Hyatt Regency Miami has been very good about working with us to cancel this year’s conference, and has agreed to host ABFM’s 2022 research conference to take place on September 22-24, 2022, on the same terms as agreed to for 2020. If you already made reservations with the hotel for this year, you should have no difficulty canceling them.

We hope to be able to convene as planned next year in Washington, DC, September 30 – October 2, 2021, so please save the dates.

ABFM Virtual Academic-Practitioner Exchange! Wednesday, July 1st, 12 Noon Eastern

Based on the feedback from our first exchange in April, participants appreciated the opportunity for interaction between faculty, researchers, and practitioners. Therefore, we are scheduling another exchange, coincidentally on the first day of fiscal years of many state and local governments across the country. This is an opportunity for discussion on fiscal responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic and other issues.

Click Here to Register

Call for Nominations – ABFM Annual Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for ABFM’s annual awards, which are traditionally-presented at our Annual Research Conference this fall. In the case of cancellation of this year’s conference, these awards will be presented via teleconference in the fall and also in person at the 2021 Annual Research Conference.

Aaron B. Wildavsky Award – Nominations Due June 30th

This award is presented to honor the lifetime scholarly accomplishments of Aaron B. Wildavsky. The award is presented 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. A committee will determine the award winner.

Nominations should be sent by June 30 to Thad Calabrese at thad.calabrese@nyu.edu.

S. Kenneth Howard Award – Nominations Due June 30th

This award is presented to honor the lifetime accomplishments of S. Kenneth Howard. The award is presented 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. A committee will determine the award winner.

Nominations should be sent by June 30 to Beverly Bunch at bbunc1@uis.edu.

Paul Posner Pracademic Award – Nominations Due June 30th

The Paul Posner Pracademic Award is presented to honor lifetime achievement for significant contributions made to the field of budgeting and financial management as both a practitioner and an academic. This is not an annual award. It will be made only when an exemplary candidate is nominated and ultimately approved by the Paul Posner Pracademic Award Committee. The award recipient should be an outstanding pracademic (practitioner and scholar) as judged by his or her record of service to and publication in 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. A committee will determine the award winner.

Nominations should be sent by June 30 to Joe Cordes at cordes@gwu.edu.

Michael Curro Student Paper Award – Nominations Due June 30th

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 2019 and June 2020. The paper 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, papers 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 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. 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 30 to Whitney Afonso at afonso@sog.unc.edu.

 

Nominations Open for ABFM Executive Committee (Closes July 17th)

ABFM is now seeking candidates to stand for election for Vice Chair-Elect (2020) and for three openings on its Executive Committee (2021-2023).

The Vice Chair-Elect becomes Vice Chair in 2021, then becomes the Chair-Elect in 2022 and serves as the Conference Chair for 2022 conference, and Chair of ABFM in 2023. The three Executive Committee members will serve for a period of three years.

The election will be conducted on-line. The candidate receiving the highest vote for Vice-Chair-Elect will claim that position. The three candidates who receive the highest number of votes for the Executive Committee will claim those positions.

Interested individuals are encouraged to examine the ABFM By-Laws (https://abfm.org/?page_id=249) to review the responsibilities of each position.

Individuals interested in standing as candidates for Vice Chair-Elect or the Executive Committee should submit a short biographical statement to Thad Calabrese at thad.calabrese@nyu.edu by Friday, July 17, 2020. Please clearly indicate the office you are seeking.

Elections are expected to be completed by early August with terms beginning on January 1, 2021.

Federal Reserve lowers Population Limits, Expands Maturity Period on Municipal Liquidity Facility

By Kenneth Hunter, Line Item Editor

On April 27th, the Federal Reserve announced changes to the structure of their recently-created Municipal Liquidity Facility, established earlier in April as part of their unprecedented response to the fiscal challenges created by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The liquidity facility is able to purchase up to $500 Billion in short-term notes issued by states, counties, and municipalities. The changes announced April 27, 2020, include the following:

  • Lowering the municipal population minimum from 500,000 to 250,000;
  • Lowering the county population minimum from 1 million to 500,000;
  • Extending the maximum maturity period from 24 months to 36 months;
  • Establishing a requirement borrows have an investment grade rating from at least 2 “major nationally recognized statistical rating organizations” as of April 8, 2020;
  • Allow for participation of “certain multistate entities”; and
  • Extending the termination date of the program to December 31, 2020.

“The Federal Reserve will continue to closely monitor conditions in primary and secondary markets for municipal securities and will evaluate whether additional measures are needed to support the flow of credit and liquidity to state and local governments,” the Fed stated in a press release.

These changes significantly-expand the eligibility for liquidity with respect to the number of local governments able to participate. According to Wells Fargo Economics Group, the eligible pool of localities (87 cities, 140 counties) is now nearly 9 times as large and represents more than 162 million Americans, three times prior eligibility.

“The expanded MLF represents the Fed’s commitment to provide liquidity wherever it can, without taking significant credit risk,” stated Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner. “The Fed is walking a fine line by primarily taking liquidity risk—which it can easily do as it does not mark-to-market—but minimal credit risk.”

Vitner also offered the following commentary:

“As such, the Fed’s latest moves will primarily help higher-rated municipalities. A better functioning municipal market, however, will help a wider set of borrowers. Still, while it can inject liquidity, the Fed is limited in its ability to address solvency, or plug the gaping budget holes of states, cities and counties. Such a fix will require help from the federal government and a remarkable degree of fiscal discipline from state & local governments once the economy is on the mend. Direct state & local assistance is at the center of ongoing negotiations for the next round of fiscal relief. The stakes are high—state & local governments comprised 8.5% of GDP in 2019, and austerity at the local level was a major weight on the recovery from the Great Recession—real state & local government spending did not recover its prerecession level until Q3-2017. Even with federal assistance, states are going to have to find efficiencies in order to deal with the loss of revenues from COVID-19 shutdowns.”