Karen's Feed
Jul 19, 2013

Detroit raced to file bankruptcy ahead of move to block it

DETROIT (Reuters) – Detroit’s historic municipal bankruptcy filing on Thursday came less than 10 minutes before lawyers for the city’s pension funds and retirees had rushed to another court to try to block it.

The bare bones bankruptcy petition, which came at 4:06:22 p.m., blindsided everyone in the room, according to two lawyers who were in state court in Lansing, Michigan, at the time. Even the lawyer representing the governor and the judge were caught unaware.

Jul 6, 2013

Detroit sues bond insurer over blocked creditor talks

By Karen Pierog and Steve Neavling

(Reuters) – The city of Detroit filed a lawsuit against bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc claiming the company blocked an agreement the city hopes to conclude with major creditors involving revenue from the city’s three casinos.

The suit filed on Friday by Detroit’s state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, focuses on the city’s estimated $15 million a month casino tax revenue. The city maintains Syncora told U.S. Bank, which controls the casino funds that were used as collateral in a deal with creditors, not to give up to $11 million a month to Detroit.

Jun 24, 2013

Credit concerns, price fall may hammer Illinois $1.3 bln bond sale

CHICAGO, June 24 (Reuters) – Illinois’ biggest bond sale so
far this year will hit the U.S. municipal market on Wednesday
amid rising interest rates and concerns the state’s already low
credit ratings could erode further as lawmakers struggle to come
up with a fix for a huge public pension problem.

Credit worries coincide with a steep price drop in the $3.7
trillion municipal bond market that has lifted yields on bonds
due in 10 and 30 years to levels not seen since 2011 in
expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon pull back on its
expansionary monetary policy.

Jun 20, 2013

Illinois sets July 9 deadline for plan to fix pensions

, June 19 (Reuters) – In the first sign of
compromise after weeks of political impasse, Illinois lawmakers
in a special session on Wednesday set up a rarely used
conference committee in an effort to fix the state’s woefully
under-funded pension system.

Legislative leaders agreed to a July 9 deadline for action
on the state’s $100 billion pension under-funding, and the
state’s Democratic governor, Patrick Quinn, said he plans to
call legislators back for another special session in early July.

Jun 10, 2013

Illinois leaders in conflict over pension bill after meeting

CHICAGO, June 10 (Reuters) – The Illinois public pension
system, the worst funded among U.S. states, will be tackled with
a two-prong approach that addresses both cost-savings and
constitutional concerns during a special legislative session
next week, state officials said on Monday.

But the measure, which will start in the Senate, may not
even be voted upon in the House, where Speaker Michael Madigan
said a bill his chamber passed in May to make unilateral changes
to retirement benefits was the right approach to address the
state’s nearly $100 billion unfunded pension liability.

Jun 3, 2013

Fitch cuts Illinois rating over failure to fix pensions

CHICAGO, June 3 (Reuters) – Illinois’ lowest-among-states
credit rating took a new hit on Monday as Fitch Ratings
downgraded the state’s credit just days after Illinois lawmakers
left the state capitol last week without addressing a huge
public pension funding crisis.

“Fitch believes that the burden of large unfunded pension
liabilities and growing annual pension expenses is
unsustainable, and that failure to achieve reform measures
despite the substantial focus on this topic exacerbates concern
about management’s willingness and ability to address the
state’s numerous fiscal challenges,” the rating agency said in a

Jun 3, 2013

Illinois credit concerns rise after failure to fix pensions

CHICAGO, June 3 (Reuters) – Illinois’ governor and lawmakers
this week hope to revive efforts to address the state’s pension
funding crisis, but the cloud over the state’s credit remains
dark in the wake of the state legislature’s failure on Friday to
pass pension reform before it adjourned.

Illinois’ general obligation bond rating, already the lowest
among U.S. states, could fall even lower, and investors who buy
the state’s debt are likely to demand higher interest rates to
take on increased risk, market participants told Reuters. The
state is expected to sell up to $1 billion of general obligation
bonds as early as this month as part of a $31 billion capital
improvement program.

Jun 1, 2013

Analysis: Tough going ahead on path to Illinois pension reform

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – As Illinois lawmakers sift through the wreckage of a session that failed to produce major pension reform for their state, they are holding out hope that meetings in the coming days could lead to a resolution not achieved after months of political wrangling.

Governor Patrick Quinn, a Democrat, said late Friday he intends to summon legislative leaders to a meeting this week to seek a compromise solution. But significant political obstacles remain.

May 31, 2013

Moody’s warns Illinois rating could fall without pension reform

CHICAGO, May 31 (Reuters) – Illinois’ credit rating with
Moody’s Investors Service, already the lowest of any state,
could fall if there is no legislative fix to address the state’s
huge public pension problem, an analyst at the credit rating
agency said on Friday.

The Illinois Senate late Thursday soundly defeated a
comprehensive pension reform bill passed by the House earlier in
May, leaving lawmakers little time to forge a compromise before
the spring legislative session is scheduled to end at midnight

May 28, 2013

Deadline near, Illinois pension reform snarled in state politics

CHICAGO, May 28 (Reuters) – With less than a week left to go
in Illinois’ spring legislative session, the future of reforms
to rein in burgeoning costs for the nation’s worst-funded public
pension system rests with the two Democrats who run the state’s
House and Senate chambers.

The Illinois legislature, which over decades has built up a
$100 billion unfunded pension liability, now is a study in
gridlock. Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and Senate
President John Cullerton each are pushing competing versions of
a fix and each refuses to take action on the other lawmaker’s