NEW YORK (Reuters) – Change is coming to the U.S. municipal bond market, and issuers, bankers and others are worried that some of the moves could fundamentally alter the process for financing capital and operating needs.
Regulators, armed with new powers under the Dodd-Frank Act, are pushing for greater financial disclosures by states, cities and other issuers, while redefining responsibilities of key players in the market.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Securities and Exchange Commission is getting closer to completing its plan to beef up the timeliness and quality of financial disclosures by states, cities and other issuers in the U.S. municipal bond market, an official said on Tuesday.
SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter said the commission’s staff have moved from evidence-gathering to the writing of rules, but she stopped short of saying exactly when the plan, which will include an update of anti-fraud provisions, will emerge.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said on Thursday he will close two state prisons and other facilities and lay off more than 1,900 workers to keep the current state budget from running out of money.
The Democratic governor blamed the Democrat-controlled Legislature for sending him a $33 billion general funds budget that locks in spending levels for state agencies and that did not appropriate enough money to keep some state services operating.
WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – States will start sending more than $1 billion to the federal government in coming weeks for loans used to pay unemployment benefits and some may have to raise business tax bills to cover the charges.
The 2009 economic stimulus plan made it easier for states to borrow from the federal government to pay benefits for unemployed workers, easing the strain on their budgets as revenue cratered and high numbers of residents filed for assistance during the recession.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s administration warned on Tuesday that some state agencies will run out of money in late April because appropriations will fall short.
“The General Assembly sent the governor an incomplete budget that does not contain the funds needed to continue operations at their current level,” said Kelly Kraft, a Quinn spokeswoman.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Illinois Tollway board approved on Thursday a $12 billion bond-financed capital plan that raises toll rates by 87.5 percent for most cars.
The tollway, which operates 286 miles of interstate highway in 12 northern Illinois counties, proposed the 15-year capital plan last month as a way to relieve congestion and boost the state’s economy.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Unemployment rates increased in more than half of the U.S. states in July as the shaky national economy took its toll on jobs, Labor Department data released on Friday showed.
Unemployment rates rose in 28 states and the District of Columbia, while they fell in nine states and were unchanged in 13, according to the data.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Illinois Department of Revenue on Tuesday denied property-tax exemptions for three hospitals in the wake of a widely watched 2010 case that subjected another hospital to taxation.
Newly built Northwestern Memorial’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, Edward Hospital in Naperville and Decatur Memorial Hospital in Decatur were denied the tax exemption.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Moody’s Investors Service on Monday revised the outlook on Minnesota’s general obligation Aa1 rating to negative from stable, citing the state’s widening structural deficit and political strife.
“The negative outlook primarily reflects the growing negative (generally accepted accounting principles) undesignated unreserved fund balance, political intractability that has resulted in the reliance on one-time measures to solve the $5 billion budget gap in the current fiscal 2012-13 biennium and the likelihood of future structural budget gaps as a result of the use of the one-time budget measures,” Moody’s said in a statement.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Scores of issuers in the U.S. municipal bond market, including cities, counties and school districts, were put on notice on Thursday by Moody’s Investors Service that their top ratings could be cut if the United States’ Aaa rating falls.
The 177 issuers, with $69 billion of outstanding debt, join five Aaa-rated states with a combined $24 billion of debt on review for possible downgrades as contagion from the U.S. debt crisis spreads deeper into munis.