Karen's Feed
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.

Dec 5, 2012

For Detroit, speculation mounts of Michigan-appointed manager

Dec 5 (Reuters) – Ongoing fiscal distress and political
turmoil in Detroit are ratcheting up speculation that the state
of Michigan could step in and appoint someone to oversee the
city’s finances.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon met with some top Detroit
officials on Wednesday amid growing concerns about “the city’s
near-term ability to meet its financial obligations and its
long-term viability,” Michigan’s Treasury Department said in a
statement.

Dec 3, 2012

Analysis: Fiscal struggle puts Detroit under credit cloud

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – Detroit’s fiscal clock is ticking down again as the city faces running out of money by the end of the year unless a political squabble between the mayor and city council can be resolved.

Without a resolution, the state of Michigan will not release cash to keep the city running. Mayor Dave Bing, who contends that bankruptcy or bond defaults are not on the horizon, is prepared to put city workers on unpaid leave to keep the struggling local government operating.

Nov 10, 2012

Illinois faces own fiscal cliff after big Democratic election win

CHICAGO, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Illinois Democratic lawmakers,
facing the state’s own version of the fiscal cliff, are expected
to use their newly won veto-proof majority in the legislature to
solve the state’s impending financial crisis with permanently
higher tax rates on personal income and corporations.

Illinois, like California, on Tuesday elected a Democratic
supermajority. The outcome was thanks mainly to the handiwork of
powerful state House Speaker Michael Madigan, who deftly drew
new districts to favor Democrats following the 2010 U.S. Census.

Oct 18, 2012

Chicago’s Cook County wants tax on bullets to pay for healthcare

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The top executive of the county that includes Chicago took aim at gun owners on Thursday, proposing a tax on bullets and firearms to help defray healthcare expenses associated with the high rate of gun violence.

If approved by the Cook county commission, the nation’s third most populous county could be the first major metropolitan area in the nation to impose a tax as a form of gun control, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.