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Beginning with Vermont municipalities’ fiscal years ending on June 30, 2015 – and which will continue for future fiscal years – a new government accounting requirement will affect the audited financial statements of those municipalities participating in the Vermont Municipal Employee Retirement System (VMERS). A portion of any VMERS “net pension liability” will need to appear as a liability on the balance sheets of participating municipalities. Even though VMERS is 98.32% of being “fully-funded,” the requirement will mean that the 450 municipal and school entities participating in VMERS will have to show a share of $9.127 million in net pension liabilities for their fiscal years ending in 2015.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is the independent organization that establishes and improves standards of accounting and financial reporting for U.S. state and local governments. Established in 1984 by agreement of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) and 10 national associations of state and local government officials, the GASB is recognized by governments, the accounting industry, and the capital markets as the official source of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for state and local governments. Its standards are not federal laws or regulations and the organization does not have enforcement authority. Compliance with GASB’s standards, however, is enforced through the laws of some individual states and through the audit process, when auditors render opinions on the fairness of financial statement presentations in conformity with GAAP.
GASB 68’s official title is “Statement 68 – Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions. The full text of the Statement can be found here.