Finance 101

Source: Governing, 2014

This ongoing series goes back to the basics to help public officials navigate the sometimes-confusing world of GASB, OPEB, DBs and P3s.

Articles include:
Financial Illiteracy: One of Government’s Biggest and Least-Discussed Problems
Failure to understand financial outcomes is more dangerous to states and localities than ever, and there’s a big gap between what public leaders know about finance and what they need to know.

How Accountability and Transparency Are Improving Public Finance

These buzzwords can instill fear and trepidation in even the most progressive and tech-savvy public officials, but open information really does improve how cities operate.

Finance 101 Glossary
Crucial (and complicated) concepts in public money explained.

How Are Pensions Protected State-by-State?
Over the last century, states have adopted the idea that pensions are a form of deferred compensation and, along with that change, has come certain protections.

Learning to Love the Numbers of Government
Governments’ financial statements may seem intimidating to those without number-crunching expertise. But these documents contain important information that public officials need to know. Here’s how to find it.

What Cities Need to Know in the New Credit Ratings Era
As agencies revamp their criteria, seemingly conflicting actions have some scratching their heads.

Is There a Plot Against Pensions?
What may seem like a mathematical quibble has ballooned into an all-out war between two ends of the spectrum with no clear end in sight.

What’s the Point of Rainy Day Funds?
States and localities both save for unseen emergencies and hard times. But when it comes to using the funds, their approach couldn’t be more different.

Retiree Health-Care Benefits: The Next Shoe to Drop?

The rising cost of health care for retirees may force states and localities to make wholesale changes to their pension health plans.