Posted on Monday, January 11, 2021

XBRL US submitted a letter commenting on the MSRB’s Strategic Goals and Priorities which asks the MSRB to consider how data standards would impact the current EMMA (Electronic Data Municipal Markets Access) data collection and dissemination process. We pointed out that we support the use of data standards to improve efficiencies in the reporting and analysis of municipal financial data, which would benefit investors and other data users, as well as data collectors and the issuers themselves.

To evaluate this approach, we encouraged the MSRB to conduct a voluntary filing program that allows municipalities to opt in to provide their data in XBRL format, and could leverage an XBRL taxonomy developed by the XBRL US Standard Government Working Group for those issuers who participate. This approach, which mirrors the Voluntary XBRL Filing Program undertaken by the SEC in 2005, would ease the burden on issuers as they could opt in, and would provide sufficient learning to help the marketplace evaluate the usefulness of data standards.

We noted that the timing for such a program is appropriate because of the evolution of the XBRL specification, maturity of the market for reporting and analytical tools, the increasing use of XBRL data by commercial data providers, and the increasing interest in standards by U.S. state and local governments. Florida, which passed House Bill 1073, mandating XBRL for municipal financial reporting, has completed the taxonomy development stage and is poised to begin requiring local government reporting in XBRL. Separately, three Illinois General Assembly members introduced House Resolution 0703 encouraging the use of XBRL for financial reporting by local Illinois governments. Other state and local governments have expressed interest in bringing standards into their reporting infrastructure, and have agreed to post their XBRL-formatted financials on the XBRL US web site[3]. Pilot programs are underway in California and Illinois; and in discussion in several other states.

Read the letter: XBRL US Comment – MSRB Notice January 11 2021