Karen's Feed
Mar 10, 2013

History suggests Detroit bid to avoid state takeover is futile

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – The Detroit City Council will argue its case on Tuesday against a state takeover of the city, but history shows a successful challenge would be unprecedented.

So far, none of the five Michigan cities declared in financial emergency has been able to change the state government’s position through a hearing, Terry Stanton, a spokesman for the Michigan Treasury Department said.

Feb 25, 2013

Illinois’ unpaid bills could soar to $21.7 billion in five years: report

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois’ stack of overdue bills could nearly triple to $21.7 billion in five years unless the state takes action to curb its public pension costs, a financial watchdog group said on Monday.

“Lawmakers need to adopt a long-term mindset and restructure the unaffordable pension systems that are keeping the state in its fiscal downspin,” Lawrence Msall, president of the Chicago-based Civic Federation, said in a statement.

Feb 25, 2013

Illinois’ unpaid bills could soar to $21.7 bln in 5 yrs-report

CHICAGO, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Illinois’ stack of overdue bills
could nearly triple to $21.7 billion in five years unless the
state takes action to curb its public pension costs, a financial
watchdog group said on Monday.

“Lawmakers need to adopt a long-term mindset and restructure
the unaffordable pension systems that are keeping the state in
its fiscal downspin,” Lawrence Msall, president of the
Chicago-based Civic Federation, said in a statement.

Feb 5, 2013

Illinois governor to bear grim news over pension crisis

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, already the most unpopular governor in the nation, has his work cut out for him at his annual “state of the state” speech on Wednesday – and this time he probably won’t be relying on a python named “Squeezy.”

The fiscal crisis caused by pension underfunding in Illinois is so bad that some hospitals wait a year to be paid by the state for insurance claims.

Jan 30, 2013

Illinois pulls $500 mln bond sale amid credit concerns

CHICAGO, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Illinois yanked a $500 million
general obligation bond issue slated for Wednesday because of
credit concerns that could boost its borrowing costs, in the
latest financial blow to the state, which has failed to fix its
bloated public pensions.

Investment banks that planned to bid on the debt indicated
investors would demand higher yields on the 25-year bonds, said
John Sinsheimer, Illinois’ capital markets director.

Jan 28, 2013

Analysis – Stuck in reverse, Detroit edges closer to bankruptcy

DETROIT (Reuters) – At the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, luxury was in the air. Pricey new Bentleys and Maseratis glittered – including a Maserati 2014 Quattroporte with a $132,000 price tag; U.S. Cabinet Secretaries and dignitaries rubbed shoulders; and many of the well-heeled attendees ponied up for a $300-a-ticket black-tie charity ball.

But in a city that is slowly dying, the glitz didn’t extend much beyond the Cobo Center exhibition hall.

Dec 19, 2012

Illinois public unions contest pension reform plans

CHICAGO, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Illinois public sector labor
union leaders on Wednesday pushed back against proposals to
reform state pensions that could reduce their benefits, warning
that they would file a lawsuit if necessary.

In early January, the state legislature could debate a plan
unveiled by House lawmakers this month that would boost workers’
pension contributions, raise retirement ages and limit
cost-of-living increases for retirees. The aim is to fully fund
the state’s five pension funds in 30 years.

Dec 19, 2012

Illinois’ public unions push back on pension reform plans

CHICAGO, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Illinois public sector labor
union leaders on Wednesday pushed back against proposals to
reform state pensions that could reduce their benefits, warning
that they would file a lawsuit if necessary.

In early January, the state legislature could debate a plan
unveiled by House lawmakers this month that would boost workers’
pension contributions, raise retirement ages and limit
cost-of-living increases for retirees with the aim of fully
funding the state’s five pension funds in 30 years.

Dec 14, 2012

Michigan lawmakers OK new emergency manager bill

Dec 13 (Reuters) – A bill that will give fiscally
troubled local Michigan governments like Detroit’s, as well as
school districts, a set of options ranging from bankruptcy to
arbitration was approved by the Michigan Senate on Thursday.

The bill, which senators approved by a 23 to 15 vote, would
replace Michigan’s previous emergency manager laws, including a
2011 law that was repealed by voters in November.

Dec 10, 2012

Illinois governor says pension woes hurting infrastructure program

CHICAGO, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Illinois’ inability to so far
fix its woefully underfunded public pension system could derail
plans by the state to continue to issue debt to fund an ongoing
infrastructure improvement program, Governor Pat Quinn said on
Monday.

“You can’t do that building and issue those bonds if you
have this severe situation overlooking you,” the Democratic
governor said at a media briefing hosted by Bloomberg News,
adding that the state could face more downgrades of its already
relatively low credit ratings among states.