In addition to the financial literacy bill, the state legislature has passed several more WBA supported bills. They include:
AB 229 - Municipal Investment of Surplus Funds.
Under current law, local governments have the ability to invest funds in a variety of ways: in banks or credit unions, in federal government bonds, in Wisconsin state and local government bonds, and in securities with a rating of at least AA. However, state statute restricts how local governments may invest by placing maturation limits on investments in banks or credit unions and in securities. There is no time restriction on investment in bonds. AB 229 removes the three-year limitation on investments in banks or credit unions, and returns control to the local government.
Current statute limits how long a municipality can invest money in a bank or credit union. In one recent example, a Wisconsin city had money set aside for a capital project they knew would not be feasible for at least four years. Since statute limits investment in banks and credit unions to three years, the city took a lower APY and missed out on $85,647 in interest revenue that would have gone toward the project. Instead, that money had to be compensated for by taxpayers. This bill will resolve this problem of lost interest revenue, which could have been avoided if this arbitrary three-year maximum was not in place.
AB 188 - Educational Requirements for CPAs.
AB 188 is a proposal first considered by the Accounting Examining Board (AEB) and introduced by Senator Howard Marklein and Representative Dale Kooyenga (both CPAs). The bill requires the AEB to promulgate rules, after further study, that would establish continuing professional education (CPE) for CPAs.
The bill requires:
- 80 CPE hours every two years (industry standard)
- Allow CPAs to count CPE credits in 5-minute increments for activities measured by time (read an article, research for a client, give a talk)
- Include at least 2 to 3 CPE hours of ethics training out of the 80-hour requirement
- Allow informal learning to count for up to half of the required CPE credits
- Example: 20 CPE hours self-reported that could include such activities as serving on a professional board, reading a book or article on an aspect of tax or financial compliance issues, and/or writing a summary, etc.
- Of the 20 remain CPE, there are numerous opportunities for free CPE. There are many online classes in addition to classes and materials provided by professionals and consultants for little or no cost to minimize the CPE inconvenience and cost.
- Wisconsin is the last state in the country to not require CPE in this profession.
AB 283 - Prize-linked Savings Accounts.
Currently, according to a study done by Bankrate, nearly two-thirds of Americans do not have enough money to cover a $500.00 emergency. Pew Charitable Trust reported that one in three American families have no savings at all. This data, combined with the research that shows that 38 percent of low-income Americans believe the lottery to be the most practical way to accumulate $200,000.00 in their lifetime, paints a troubling picture of our savings behaviors.
This bill authorizes banks, credit unions, and savings institutions to conduct prize-linked savings promotions. Savings promotion contests are designed to encourage people to save money by adding a feature to personal savings accounts that include a chance to win prizes. Wisconsin would join 20 other states that allow credit unions and/or other financial institutions to conduct these programs. Savings promotion contests in other states and countries have produced an increase in the average number of savings accounts and funds in those savings accounts.