Governmental Accounting Standards Board releases new transparency rule

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board, GASB, has released a new standard requiring state and local governments to publicly report how much revenue is lost due to economic development tax breaks. Good Jobs First praises the new push towards transparency while expressing disappointment that the standard falls short in certain areas. For example, the standard does not requre company-specific recipient disclosure, disclosure of how many tax-break agreements are behind the aggregate program cost figures, or future-year cost reporting, all of which were recommended by many groups who offered public comment on the draft standard.

GASB is a group of financing and accounting professionals that issues rules for accounting and financial reporting for U.S. state and local governments. These rules are known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, and most units of government choose to conform to GAAP in order to get credit ratings to sell bonds. 

Detailed summary of the proposed standard and links to comments can be found at:

Good Jobs First lauds New Tax-Break Accounting Standard (press release)

Good Jobs First's detailed summary and critique of the proposed standard