usCities, states and the millions of Americans who work for them will soon face new accounting rules that will require many local governments to disclose pension obligations that were hidden until now, stepping up the pressure to rein in public workers’ benefits.

The new rules are the result of more than five years of work by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board on one of the most contentious topics the agency has ever tackled. The current rules have been criticized for making pensions look more affordable than they really are and creating incentives for governments to take undue risks with taxpayer money.