Karen's Feed
Aug 28, 2015

Illinois argues against contempt charge in funding case

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois’ cash-flow problem makes it
impossible to meet specific payment deadlines for services
provided to developmentally disabled residents, according to a
state filing on Friday in U.S. District Court.

In an attempt to avoid being held in contempt of an Aug. 18
federal court order, Illinois said it paid all July and August
bills for community-based services for the disabled. It also
argued it was doing all it can to pay bills mandated by courts
along with obligations required under state law in the absence
of a fiscal 2016 budget.

Aug 26, 2015

Illinois must disclose which bills it has paid or not paid -judge

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday gave
Illinois until midday on Friday to disclose which bills the
state has paid or not paid and why it could not fully comply
with a court order to fund services for developmentally disabled
residents in the absence of a fiscal 2016 state budget.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said she
was “very disappointed” the state failed to meet an Aug. 21
payment deadline she set in her Aug. 18 order and did not
communicate that failure to the court.

Aug 25, 2015

Illinois faces contempt charge over funding failure

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Attorneys for disabled Illinois
residents asked a federal court on Tuesday to find state
officials in contempt of an order to pay for services despite
the lack of a fiscal 2016 budget.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman on Aug. 18
ordered Illinois to make timely payments for all services,
programs and personnel required under a 2011 consent decree that
covered more than 10,000 Illinois residents with developmental
disabilities.

Aug 19, 2015

Detroit’s $245 mln bonds priced in first post-bankruptcy issue

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – Detroit’s post-bankruptcy debut in the U.S.
municipal bond market on Wednesday resulted in hefty yields for
$245 million of bonds, signalling that investors remain
skeptical of the city’s recovery.

Tax-exempt bonds totaling $134.7 million were priced at par
with a top yield of 4.50 percent in 2029. That resulted in a
spread over Municipal Market Data’s benchmark yield scale for
top-rated bonds of 194 basis points. The yield on the A-rated
bonds was also 133 basis points over MMD’s single-A scale.

Aug 7, 2015

Kansas tops U.S. municipal bond calendar with $1 bln pension deal

Aug 7 (Reuters) – Kansas will offer $1 billion of taxable
pension bonds in the U.S. municipal market next week in a move
that could make investors skittish given a recent default on
some bonds in Puerto Rico and credit ratings downgrades in
Chicago.

Debt service on the bonds is subject to annual
appropriation, meaning that Kansas’ legislature must decide each
year whether to allot money to make the payments.

Aug 5, 2015

Illinois looks to federal money to maintain services amid budget impasse

CHICAGO, Aug 4 (Reuters) – With Illinois starting its second
month of fiscal 2016 without a budget, the Senate on Tuesday
passed a bill that has Governor Bruce Rauner’s support to tap
$4.8 billion in federal dollars to fund certain state services.

The 57-0 vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate sends the
measure to the House, which returns to session on Wednesday. The
bill will help fund programs that provide food and child care,
help pay utility bills for low-income families, support domestic
violence victims, and aid the disabled.

Jul 30, 2015

Chicago eyes issuing costly capital appreciation bonds

CHICAGO, July 30 (Reuters) – The latest general obligation
bond proposal from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel could have the
cash-strapped city selling up to $500 million of capital
appreciation bonds (CABs), a form of debt that government
finance experts say could be costly and risky.

CABs are municipal debt for which payments are deferred
until the bonds’ maturity while interest compounds. Emanuel’s
administration on Wednesday proposed a refunding of outstanding
GO bonds that would give the city the flexibility to issue CABs
or the more commonly used current interest bonds for which
interest is paid on a periodic basis.

Jul 24, 2015

Judge rules Chicago pension reform law is unconstitutional

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A 2014 law aimed at shoring up two of Chicago’s financially shaky public worker retirement systems violates pension protections in the Illinois constitution, a judge ruled on Friday.

In a written opinion, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Rita Novak rejected Chicago’s argument that members of its municipal and laborers’ retirement systems are getting a net benefit under the law.

Jul 24, 2015

Court ruling could derail Illinois pension cut strategy

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The struggle by Illinois and its local
governments to ease huge public pension burdens could get
tougher if a state judge later on Friday tosses out a 2014 law
aimed at two of Chicago’s retirement systems.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Rita Novak is expected by
legal experts to void the law that increases pension
contributions by the city and workers while reducing and
skipping cost-of-living increases for retirement payments.

Jul 22, 2015

Michigan governor declares fiscal emergency for Detroit’s county

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Wednesday
declared that Wayne County, home to Detroit, is in a financial
emergency, agreeing with the findings of a state-appointed
review team.

“Restoring Wayne County to a secure financial foundation
will ensure residents will continue to get the services they
need,” the Republican governor said in a statement.