This brief describes a standard issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) in June 2004. Before the GASB 45 ruling, governments were not required to measure and report the long-term implications of OPEB promises; related expenses were recognized when retirees received benefits, not when they were granted and earned. GASB 45 requires clear and transparent reporting of the current value of OPEB promises in government financial statements. This brief describes the new ruling in detail, considers how it will affect New England governments, and discusses potential policy responses.
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