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Chair's Column

ABFM Members:

First of all, my thoughts go out to everyone dealing with the challenges of winter weather throughout the Eastern United States. From the ice in the south to long unseen snowfalls in New England, I know these are challenging times for faculty and practitioners alike.
Times like these remind us of the dedication and commitment of workers and leaders at all levels of government, especially those directly involved in responding to severe weather and other emergency events. The plow trucks, utility crews, emergency services, law enforcement and aid workers provide critical support to their fellow man and reflect the importance of our citizen's government in responding to challenges impacting our daily lives.
We cannot also forget the work of our friends overseas in responding to the evil of today's terrorism. Whether the victims are targeted for their religious beliefs or choice of speech, we know of the importance of responding swiftly and effectively to eliminate these threats in order to ensure the life of innocent citizens and prevent future attacks.
All of these circumstances, and so many more, reinforce the need for our continued work identifying and evaluating the standards, experience, performance, challenges and opportunities for ensuring the available resources to provide for the responsibilities of the public sector. The work of faculty, students and researchers is more critical than ever in advising and encouraging practitioners and political leaders to make necessary decisions with respect to service prioritization, infrastructure protection, workforce care and fiscal security.
Thank you for your continued service in these fields. Take the opportunity in the Call for Papers and Proposals for our 2015 Annual Conference to showcase your work and ideas to address these and more issues in the importance field of public finance. We look forward to seeing your efforts this fall, and continuing to read about them in upcoming issues of Public Budgeting & Finance.
Bob Kravchuk
2015 Chair
Call for Proposals Issued for
2015 ABFM Conference

Deadline for submissions: April 10, 2015

Click Here to Submit Panel Proposals 

Click Here to Submit Paper Proposals 

The Association for Budgeting and Financial Management invites you to submit a session panel proposal or paper for the 2015 ABFM Conference. This year’s collaborative conference will be held October 1-3, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The focus of the conference is on budgeting and financial management at all levels of United States government as well as international and comparative perspectives. Practitioners as well as academics are encouraged to submit proposals. A list of panel topics include but are not limited to the list below.

Please submit all paper and panel proposals by April 10, 2015, through the online submission forms (links above). Please direct questions to me at Proposals will be reviewed and competitively selected.

We look forward to hearing how you are advancing public finance through your work and research!


Carolyn Bourdeaux, ABFM Conference Chair

Selected Conference Topics
  • Federal & State Fiscal Challenges
  • The Politics of Budgetary Process
  • Budget Balancing Strategies
  • Tax Policy & Administration
  • Budgeting in Poor Countries
  • Executive & Legislative Budget Politics
  • Transportation Policy & Finance
  • Budget Reform, Innovation & Process
  • Forecasting
  • Intergovernmental Finance
  • Performance Budgeting
  • Debt Financing & Management
  • Accounting & Financial Reporting
  • Nonprofit Financial Issues
  • Managing Financial Risk
  • Budgetary Theory
  • International & Comparative Budgeting
  • Federal Stimulus Reporting & Outcomes
  • History of Budgeting
  • Budgeting & Economic Development
  • Citizen Participation in Budgeting
  • Current Trends in Public Finance
  • Funding Healthcare
  • Financial Leadership
  • Municipal Securities
  • Budgeting for National Security
  • Investing Public Funds
  • Revenue Diversification
  • Capital Planning & Management
  • Education Finance
Chair's Column

On January 1st, ABFM's Executive Committee welcomed three new members for the start of their 3-year terms. Each of these individuals share unique knowledge, experience and perspective on the field of public sector finance, and are looking forward to making contributions to the association during their upcoming service in leadership.

Hai (David) Guo joined ABFM in 2007. He is an assistant professor of public administration at Florida International University. He is also currently serving as the co-managing editor of the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management.

"I am excited and honored to be elected as the new ABFM Executive Committee member," Dr. Guo said. "I will work with other members and officers to make ABFM continue to excel in every aspect."

Dr. Guo's research interests include budgetary institution and fiscal policy outcome, public engagement in budgetary process, local government financial management under fiscal stress, and infrastructure pricing and financing. As a public administration scholar, he has published in Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, American Review of Public Administration, Journal of Public Budgeting Accounting & Financial Management, Municipal Finance Journal, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Public Works Management & Policy, and Public Procurement. Dr. Guo holds his Ph.D. degree in Public Policy from the Joint Doctoral program of public policy of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Public Policy. He obtained his master degree in Economics from Georgia State University and a master degree of Public Administration from Iowa State University.

Olga Smirnova has been a very active member of ABFM since joining in 2009. Dr. Smirnova is an assistant professor at the MPA program, the Department of Political Science, East Carolina University. Her research interests include transportation, green transportation innovations, institutional stability, economic development, social networks, performance measurement, and visualizations of complex systems. She has published in the Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Transportation, Public Works Management and Policy, International Journal of Cybercriminology, Southeastern Geographer, Municipal Finance Journal, North Carolina Geographer, and Administration and Society.

Dr. Smirnova has received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She received her master degree in Political Science from Central European University, Budapest Hungary. She is a regular presenter at ABFM conferences and has served on select committees within the organization.

Bryan Sullivan joined ABFM in 1989. He serves as Director of Management Efficiency for the State of Delaware’s Office of Management and Budget, Budget Development, Planning and Administration section. Bryan earned his M.P.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s College of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.

Bryan is returning this year to service on the Executive Committee after prior service as Treasurer (2007 to 2012) and Executive Committee member (2004-2006). He's also served on multiple award committees, the Membership Committee and on planning committees for several annual conferences.

"I am excited to rejoin ABFM's Executive Committee and I look forward to working with committee members as we address organizational and professional issues," said Bryan. "This is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to and lead the way to enhancing he future of public budgeting and financial management, both nationally and internationally."

FOR 2015!

Comments Sought for Upcoming GASB Meeting

From Dan Smith
ABFM Representative

As your representative to the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC), I write to inform you of the topics on which GASB will seek GASAC member feedback at the next meeting. It will be in Norwalk, CT March 9-10.

The topics to be covered are are:

  • Asset retirement obligations
  • Debt extinguishments pre-agenda research (memo and one attachment)
  • External investment pools
  • GAAP hierarchy
  • Other postemployment benefits (OPEB)
  • Tax abatement disclosures
  • Technical plan priorities discussion (cover memo and four attachments)

Click here to download the first set of discussion papers on the meeting's agenda

If you would like me to provide any input on your behalf, please write me directly at
CBO Celebrating 40th Anniversary on February 24th

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a special event featuring a panel of past CBO directors on Tuesday, February 24th, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center's Congressional Auditorium.

Keynote remarks will be made by Alice Rivlin, the CBO's first Director, who served from 1975 to 1983. She is now a Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution. She will be joined afterward to discuss the agency's past and future with a panel of the following former CBO Directors:

  • Rudolph G. Penner (1983-1987), Senior Fellow with The Urban Institute
  • Robert D. Reischauer (1986-1995), President Emeritus of The Urban Institute
  • June E. O'Neill (1995-1999), Professor of Economics at Baruch College
  • Dan L. Crippen (1999-2003), Director of the National Governors Association
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin (2003-2005), President of the American Action Forum
  • Peter R. Orzag (2007-2008), Vice-President of Corporate & Investment Banking at Citigroup

Panelists will also answer questions from the audience. For more information, call Deborah Kilroe at (202) 226-2602 or email

One-Day Registrations Available for ASPA Conference

The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is offering attractive one-day registration rates for its Annual Conference. The discount rates offer an opportunity for public administrators to spend a day networking with more than 1,000 public managers and scholars from across the United State and the globe. ASPA’s Annual Conference is one of the largest meetings for public administrators.

ASPA’s Annual Conference offers more than 30 panels daily as well as workshops on topics of relevance and importance to today’s public manager. From public budgeting, emergency planning to building accountability and transparency, attendees hear from 400 plus experts. To see a list of already confirmed panels, click here. One day registration rates start at $189 for ASPA members and $249 for non-members. Register now.

One session of specific interest to public finance scholars and practitioners will be held Friday, March 6th, from 12 noon until 1:30 p.m., titled "The Impact of Detroit and other Credit Challenges on Municipal Finance and the Municipal Bond Market," featuring:

Moderator: Michael Pagano, University of Illinois of Chicago


Richard Ciccarone, President & CEO, Merritt Research Services, Co-Publisher & Co-Owner of MuniNet

Rich Ciccarone is a nationally recognized expert in municipal bonds. He has received more than 20 awards and distinctions from Institutional Investor, Smith’s Research & Gradings, Global Guaranty, The Bond Buyer and the National Federation of Municipal Analysts.

Robert Muller, Managing Director, JP Morgan Securities

Bob Muller was ranked an “All ‐ American Analyst” eleven times in various categories, including six first place awards as a transportation sector analyst.  He also has been a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Smith’s Research and Ratings Review and the NFMA’s Award of Excellence.

James Spiotto, Managing Director, Chapman Strategic Advisors

As a lawyer, Jim Spiotto has represented issuers, indenture trustees or bondholders in litigation, bankruptcy or workouts of over 400 troubled debt financings in over 35 different states and foreign countries.   He is co-author of The Law of State and Local Government Debt Financing (Thompson West) and author of Municipalities in Distress? (Chapman and Cutler).  He has also authored chapters in The Handbook of Municipal Bonds (Sylvan Feldstein and Frank Fabozzi, editors, John Wiley & Sons) and the Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government Finance (Robert D. Ebel and John E. Peterson, editors)

Kenneth A. Kriz, Regents Distinguished Professor of Public Finance, Director, Kansas Public Finance Center, Wichita State University

Kenneth Kriz is a well-regarded scholar on municipal debt, pension economics and policy and government financial risk management. A Ph.D. graduate of Indiana University and publisher of over 20 articles and book chapters on these topics, Ken is a prior Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Estonia (2004-05) and Fulbright Senior Specialist in the Czech Republic (2008).

From the NASBO Budget Blog
January Retail Sales Data Weaker Than Expected

Most states tax the extraction of natural resources, such as oil, from within their jurisdiction. Taxes on natural resource extraction, also known as severance taxes, are imposed by states as well as the federal government. Severance taxes are determined by the value or volume (or some combination of the two) of the resource being extracted. Commodities that are subject to state severance taxes include oil, minerals, metals, natural gas, timber, fish and other natural resources. Overall, severance tax collections comprise a relatively small portion of total state tax collections. According to the U.S. Census, severance taxes accounted for 1.9 percent of total state tax collections in fiscal 2012. However, in a handful of states, severance tax collections represent a fairly large share of the state’s revenue. The dramatic price declines in the price of oil are likely to have implications for the overall budget in those states more reliant on severance taxes.

As a nation, oil price declines are likely to have a net positive effect for the economy; a phenomenon that will likely lead to increased economic activity and higher state tax collections. Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics notes, “If we stay at $60 a barrel, consumers will save $150 billion on gasoline. It’s huge. If history is any guide, the bulk of that money will be spent and will drive economic growth.” Despite expected benefits from falling oil prices, severance taxes will decline in states that impose an oil severance tax. And for states more heavily reliant on oil severance taxes, increases in economic output and consumption will probably not be sufficient to offset the revenue declines attributable to the falling price of oil.   

Most of the laws impacting oil production originate from the state level. States can tax oil production in different ways based on the volume and value of the oil being extracted. There is great variation of state severance taxes within the same commodity class and even more so across different commodity types. The Council of State Governments (CSG) has compiled a summary of state severance taxes by state, and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has developed a compilation of oil and gas severance taxes by state.  

The U.S. Census notes that 15 states do not collect severance taxes including Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermont. Furthermore, Census data shows that in another 20 states, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, severance tax collections accounted for 1.0 percent or less of the state’s total tax collections in fiscal 2012. For the remaining 15 states, severance taxes have greater importance for overall fiscal health, and the finances of Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming are overwhelmingly driven by severance taxes. For Alaska and North Dakota’s budget, the commodity of importance is oil, and for Wyoming it is coal. The latest data on state severance tax collections compiled by the U.S. Census is from fiscal 2012.

The Census data does not report severance taxes by commodity, so it is difficult to know for sure how much revenue from severance taxes is directly attributable to oil as opposed to coal, natural gas or some other natural resource. However, the price of oil plays an important role in the budget for Alaska, North Dakota, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas. States such as West Virginia, Wyoming and Kentucky are more reliant on severance taxes from coal rather than oil. More information and analysis on how oil price declines may impact state budgets can be found here.

The effects of oil’s recent drop in price have rippled throughout financial markets as well as the world economy over the past several months. In all likelihood these effects will also be illuminated in future state severance tax collections. A handful of states will likely need to enact new spending plans that adapt to the lower market price now being offered for the world’s most valuable commodity. Although in general, the price of oil is not the most important ingredient of state revenue systems or the overall health of the national economy.

Click Here to Visit the NASBO Budget Blog

Continued Growth Anticipated in 2015, Weaker Start Expected

By Kenneth Hunter

This week's update from Wells Fargo Economics Group's Mark Vitner suggests slowing in economic growth due to broadening of trade deficits and reductions in capital spending.

"A big part of the slowdown has been a turnaround in trade, where we have seen a widening of the trade deficit that cut a little bit off the fourth quarter growth, and it's probably going to be a drag in the first quarter as well," said Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner.

"Some of (decline in capital spending) is tied to lower energy prices and oil companies cutting back on their capital spending budgets," Vitner said. "It's something we're going to deal with over the course of the year, but CapEx really hasn't really been a strong suit throughout the recovery."

Vitner and his group lowered their First Quarter 2015 GDP forecast to an annualized growth rate of 1.5%, lower than outlooks offered by most other economists.

"Going into the first quarter, most folks were around 3%, and the latest look that I saw in the consensus had growth around 2.5%," Vitner said.

In January, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker shared the consensus view of The Federal Reserve for National GDP growth of 2.5% to 3% for the coming year.

Lacker stated growth rates could increase above post-recession averages and return to historic trends closer to 3% as a result of increased consumer spending and a decline in the savings rate. Strengthening labor markets, leading to workforce limitations and higher wages in specialized fields and growing sectors, may also have an impact.

Lacker also expressed concern over continued challenges, including the lack of full recovery in the housing market, indicated by sluggish sales activity and limited new construction. Also, while export activity has made significant gains in the past couple years, potential declines due to weak markets abroad could restrain recent growth in domestic manufacturing.

Lacker indicated the Federal Open Market Committee has no pre-set timetable for raising the federal funds rate above the long-held mark of 0-0.25%, though the rate could increase if inflation becomes an issue.  Current measures indicate consumer prices remaining at or below 2% growth in the coming year.

Vitner expressed concern in regards to the status of the Fed funds rate. "For all the improvement that we've seen, the economy is still fairly fragile and moving away from the zerobound is difficult," he said.

The latest revision for Fourth Quarter GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis was an annualized rate of 2.6%. Third Quarter GDP growth was revised to 5.0% annual rate.

Click Here for Wells Fargo February Economic Update

From the NASBO Washington Report
January Retail Sales Data Weaker Than Expected

Retail and food services sales in January declined 0.8 percent compared to the previous month, according to new data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. However, total sales from November 2014 through January 2015 were up 3.8 percent compared to the same period one year ago. Excluding sales of automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales increased slightly by 0.1 percent. This figure, known as “core retail sales,” is considered a close proxy for consumer spending as a component of gross domestic product. Last week’s report was viewed as disappointing, as economists had expected total retail and food sales to drop by just 0.4 percent.

Click Here to Subscribe to NASBO's Washington Report


From Federal Times
Federal Agencies adding 72,000 Workers in 2015

By Andy Medici, Staff Writer

Agencies bouncing back from sequestration cuts and years of hiring freezes are hiring more than 72,000 federal employees in 2015, according to figures from the Office of Management and Budget.

The non-postal federal workforce will grow from about 2.03 million federal employees to more than 2.1 million in fiscal 2015, as agencies look to fill gaps in their workforces and recover from previous losses, according to OMB.

In many cases agencies will return to 2013 levels. The Defense Department fell from 738,000 civilian employees in 2013 to 724,000 in 2014. In 2015 the agency is hiring about 20,600 employees.

The Defense Department will be using those new hires to bolster its cyber, acquisition and shipyard workforces, according to spokesman Nate Christensen.

"There are a number of areas in which the department continues to increase our civilian workforce capabilities and is hiring personnel," Christensen said.

Other areas of hiring include its sexual assault prevention, transition assistant, suicide prevention and disability evaluation workforces, he said.

Click Here for the Rest of the Article

This article was featured in GovManagement Daily, an aggregation email distributed by ASPA. Click here to subscribe.

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ABFM is a research section of the American Society for Public Administration

About ABFM
We aim to promote the professional development of budgeting and financial management in the public and non-profit sectors. Embracing both theorectical and operational concerns, ABFM addresses issues in budgeting processes and practice in financial management.

Click here for membership information.
ABFM Board of Directors
2015 Chair
Robert Kravchuk
Indiana University

2016 Chair

Carolyn Bourdeaux
Georgia State University

Vice Chair
2017 Chair

Dan Smith
New York University

Immediate Past Chair
2014 Chair

Charles Menifield
University of Missouri-Columbia

Secretary & Archivist
Meagan Jordan
Old Dominion University

Deborah Carroll
University of Georgia

Newsletter Editor

Kenneth Hunter
City of Rocky Mount, NC

Executive Committee

2013-2015 Term
Ben Clark, Cleveland State University

John Gilmour, William & Mary
Kenneth Hunter, City of Rocky Mount, NC

2014-2016 Term
Christine Martell, Colorado-Boulder

David Matkin, University of Albana-SUNY
Zhirong "Jerry" Zhao, University of Minnesota

2015-2017 Term
Hai (David) Guo, Florida International University

Olga Smirnova, East Carolina University
Bryan Sullivan, State of Delaware OMB
Career Opportunities
Click Here for Job Postings

Assistant Professor (Two Positions), College of Public Service, Tennessee State University (Closes 2/20/15)

Clinical Faculty, Financial Management, NYU Wagner (Deadline 2/27/15)

Senior Research Associate, Andrew Young School Fiscal Research Center, Georgia State University (Closes 3/1/15)

Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics (Closes 3/15/15)

Fiscal Policy Analyst, NASBO (Open Until Filled)

Members with announcements can have them posted for free. Email them to

Call for Papers

PF&M Symposium on Fiscal Issues in China (Deadline 2/21/15)

PBAFM Symposium of Capital Budgeting (Deadline 6/15/15)
Contributions for Teaching Database Accepted

Our Teaching Database is once again available online, and we are now accepting submissions for new material we will add to the database over the summer.  This project serves as a collection of teaching materials from graduate level courses related to Public Budgeting and Financial Management. The database will be updated in March.

Items that will be considered include: course syllabi, reading and textbook lists, assignments, student project ideas, lectures, handouts and reading assignments.

Submissions should be made electronically to
Kenneth Hunter, kenneth.hunter@ The subject of the email should include "ABFM Teaching Database Submission," and the message should include a brief description of the submitted items (attached files).

Open source data sets will also be considered.

Click Here for the Teaching Database

ABFM's website is made possible by a grant from Public Financial Publications, Inc., a nonprofit corporation & publisher of Public Budgeting & Finance
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