Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox told a Town Hall Los Angeles meeting that he wants Congress to give more power to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board so GASB can police accounting practices at the state and local government level and better regulate the municipal bond market.He would like the SEC to be able to enforce GASB accounting rules when it sees a violation by a state or local government, similar to the way the SEC can take action against companies that flout Financial Accounting Standards Board rules. Texas and Connecticut have both passed bills recently allowing alternative accounting rules, although Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell has vetoed that state’s bill.
Cox hopes to get a more reliable stream of financing for GASB, like the kind FASB has received in recent years, in which state and local governments are required to pay into a fund to support the board’s work, instead of voluntarily providing donations.
In addition, Cox wants to make financial statements from government bodies, especially about municipal bonds, more readily available to the public through a system like the Edgar database of filings from publicly traded companies.
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