More than 80 Ohio county commissioners and county council members from 47 counties accepted an invitation from the White House to attend a conference held on Aug. 29, 2017 in Washington D.C.
Recent CCAO Advocacy
Impact of Tax Reform of County Government
On Dec. 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a $1.5 trillion bill that represents the most sweeping overhaul of the United States tax code in decades. The National Association of Counties (NACo) has been tracking how this new legislation will impact counties. Click here for a comparison of the House, Senate and Conference versions of the bill, and click here to follow NACo’s coverage of the legislation.
2016 Talking Points for Meetings with the Ohio Congressional Delegation
CCAO has prepared talking points for county commissioners, county executives and county council members, and chief county staff for meetings with the Ohio Congressional Delegation and their staff.
CCAO Letter in Support of Marketplace Fairness Act to US House of Representatives
CCAO issued a letter in support of S. 743, the Marketplace Fairness Act, to the Ohio Delegation in the US House of Representatives. The bill would create two options for state to collect sales and use taxes on remote sales – either through the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement or by adopting an alternative. The Agreement minimizes costs and administrative burdens on retailers that collect sales tax, particularly retailers operating in multiple states. It is believed the measure will help collect over $100M of already-owed taxes on remote sales. Both the National Association of Counties and CCAO have been actively supporting the measure for some time.
Commissioners and CCAO Staff Visit Ohio Delegation in D.C.
CCAO staff and county officials recently in Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Counties conference met with members of the Ohio Delegation to advocate on various federal issues. Topics covered included the importance of tax-exempt municipal bonds, and the Marketplace Fairness Act, among many others.
GASB Financial Reporting Proposed Change – CCAO comment and GASB Response
CCAO recently received a response to comments submitted to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) regarding a GASB proposal that employers in a cost-sharing pension plan (such as OPERS) recognize their proportionate shares of collective net pension liability on their books.
For additional context, below is a November 14, 2011 CIDS excerpt with background on the proposal and CCAO’s submitted comments. Please contact Brad Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 221-5627 for additional information on this issue.
CCAO Provides Comments to Governmental Accounting Standards Board on its Exposure Draft, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions
CCAO has submitted comments to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) relative to
its Exposure Draft, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions and amendment of GASB Statement Number 27. This Exposure Draft addresses changes in the way participants in government sponsored pension plans account for and report pension assets and liabilities in their annual financial statements.
The purpose of the new financial reporting proposal is to standardize how participants in public pension plans disclose pension information in their financial statements. CCAO noted in its letter that while the proposed financial reporting is intended to make financial reporting more transparent, it poses significant challenges for multiple employer cost sharing plans like the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System.
In its letter to GASB, CCAO notes that the net pension liability of individual counties “should be reflected on the financial statements of the pension system where the assets for future pension benefits are also reported, not within the financial statement of each county.” CCAO also notes that because OPERS contribution rates and benefits are established by the legislature through state law, there is the question of whether the accounting standards proposed under the Exposure Draft are at odds with the accounting requirements established by Ohio law.
CCAO also expressed concern that OPERS will have difficulty calculating the net pension liability of each Ohio County, which under the new accounting standards OPERS would be required to do. CCAO commented “that the liability, if allocated, would not be reliable and would result in significant increase in county audit expenses at a time of dwindling state revenue support of county government in Ohio.”
A further concern that CCAO expressed relates to the likely delay that the new accounting treatment will have in reporting the proportionate share of net pension liability and OPERS pension expense. CCAO notes that “with the time lag involved in calculating the county proportionate share, we expect delays in the ability of counties to issue their financial statements and other key financial reports.”
CCAO charged that “with the expected volatility of the new pension expense, it will be difficult to establish annual budgets accurately.” CCAO added that “a big concern is that users of county financial statements will become confused when county contributions no longer match the county annual pension expense and the county pension expense is not reflective of county employee experience.”
Lastly, CCAO expressed concern that the new accounting standards will adversely affect the bond rating of Ohio counties. This could mean counties that currently enjoy sound balance sheets will end up with what will look like poor financial results. This could adversely affect bond ratings which could result in higher interest costs for new bond issues.
CCAO concluded that “reporting of county pension expense and liabilities that are not representative of the county’s actual experience could lead to short-sighted decisions and ultimately lead to confusion and a lack of trust of county government by the public.”