Karen's Feed
Jul 31, 2012

SEC seeks more investor protections for U.S. municipal bond market

By Karen Pierog and Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a report on Tuesday it would seek legislation to improve disclosure in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market, which has largely escaped the same level of regulation as other U.S. capital markets.

The SEC’s report, which was two years in the making, focuses on improving disclosures by states, cities and other debt issuers and on increasing investor protection.

Jul 31, 2012

SEC seeks more investor protections for US muni market

July 31 (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission said in a report on Tuesday it would seek legislation
to improve disclosure in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond
market, which has largely escaped the same level of regulation
as other U.S. capital markets.

The SEC’s report, which was two years in the making, focuses
on improving disclosures by states, cities and other debt
issuers and on increasing investor protection.

Jun 30, 2012

Illinois governor signs budget, vetoes prison funds

CHICAGO, June 30 (Reuters) – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
said on Saturday he signed a $33.7 billion budget for fiscal
2013 after vetoing spending for prisons that he plans to close.

Quinn said public pensions, which lawmakers have so far
failed to reform, will eat up $5.2 billion of the fiscal 2013
budget, compared to $1.8 billion in fiscal 2008.

Jun 14, 2012

Political turmoil hits Detroit’s ratings

DETROIT (Reuters) – Worries that Detroit’s attempt to fix its enormous financial problems will be stymied by ongoing political turmoil are weighing on the debt-laden city’s already low credit ratings.

Both Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings pounded Detroit deeper into the junk category this week amid disputes over the pact city officials entered into with the state of Michigan in April.

Jun 13, 2012

Detroit avoids cash crunch as judge halts lawsuit

DETROIT (Reuters) – Detroit averted a financial meltdown after a Michigan judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit that had threatened to cut the city off from state funds and which would have left the city without money to make a key debt payment in two days.

Mayor Dave Bing called the episode, which led to a cut in the city’s credit ratings, an “unfortunate distraction”, telling reporters that Motown will be able to make a $34.2 million payment on its pension debt on Friday.

Jun 13, 2012

Fitch downgrades Detroit over bond payment worries

June 12 (Reuters) – Concerns that Detroit may miss a payment
due Friday on its pension debt led Fitch Ratings to lower the
city’s already junk-level ratings into the C category on
Tuesday, denoting a higher chance of default.

Fitch analyst Amy Laskey cited statements by Mayor Dave Bing
that the city may not be able to make a payment on $1.5 billion
of pension debt as it may run out of cash by Friday.

May 15, 2012

Analysis: State income up in April, but may not be enough

By Lisa Lambert and Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – Personal income tax collections in states in April might have grown an average of more than 7 percent, but for some the increase may not be enough to ease budget crises.

Reuters found that the average increase of personal income tax collections in April 2012 from April 2011 for the 20 states for which data is available was 7.3 percent.

Apr 26, 2012

Referendum ruling clouds Detroit’s financial fix

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – Part of Detroit’s recent deal to mend its shattered finances could be threatened if Michigan officials on Thursday rule that a referendum to repeal the state’s controversial emergency manager law should be allowed on the November ballot.

A decision by election officials to allow the referendum to be put before voters on November 6 would result in a suspension of the law, pending an actual vote on the measure.

Apr 20, 2012

Illinois governor unveils “bold” plan to save pensions

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois would shore up its sagging public employment retirement system under a plan outlined on Friday by Governor Pat Quinn that gives workers a choice between higher contributions and lower benefits.

With pension funding absorbing more and more of the state’s budget, Quinn said his plan would save taxpayers $65 billion to $85 billion over 30 years and help stop a further fall in the state’s relatively low credit ratings.

Apr 19, 2012

Illinois governor proposes plan to rein in Medicaid

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Thursday proposed a plan that he said would save the state’s Medicaid health program for the poor from collapse by slashing spending and raising revenue via an increase in the cigarette tax.

The Democratic governor’s $2.7 billion plan calls for saving $1.35 billion a year by reducing eligibility and coverage, eliminating programs, and other efficiencies. It also calls for dropping rates paid to providers to save another $675 million, and increasing the state’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack to raise $335.7 million annually.