California Professional Firefighters

Draft Accounting Rules Put Retirement Security, Local Budgets at Risk

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is a private panel that creates accounting and public reporting rules for state and local governments. As part of a standard 10-year review, GASB is considering radical new bookkeeping rules that upend decades of pension fund accounting and risk further politicizing basic retirement security.

What They Want to Do

In essence, GASB proposes to count any conceivable pension payment from now until the future as a debit on every year’s financial balance sheet. Imagine, for example, if you were planning your monthly budget and, instead of putting down your monthly mortgage payment, you had to list the entire value of your mortgage.  Pretty hard to make those books balance isn’t it?

Why it Matters to You

The proposed changes won’t change anything regarding the health of pension funds. What they will do is create an expensive and confusing new bureaucratic mandate for fiscally ailing state and local governments.  It will also guarantee a new round of attacks by critics who will hold up misleading “deficit” figures to fan the flames of hostility toward public workers.

Your retirement security will face even more vicious attacks, with the perceived blessing of “unbiased” accounting rules.

Local governments, CalPERS and CalSTRS and most pension experts oppose the changes, and are urging GASB to, at a minimum, delay their implementation.


Below are links to resources you can use to make your case.

Talking Points on GASB Pension Accounting Changes -- some basic bullets from which you can draft comments to the GASB Board

CalPERS Fact Sheet on GASB Pension Accounting Proposal

GASB Pension Accounting Change Proposal -- GASB "Plain English" Explanation of the Changes

NCPERS Draft Opposition Letter