Karen's Feed
Apr 15, 2013

Some cities ditch Build America Bonds as sequester hits stimulus

April 15 (Reuters) – Monona, Wisconsin, took a step on
Monday that would have been unthinkable just a year ago: it
refunded $7.67 million of taxable Build America Bonds in the
U.S. municipal market.

The bonds launched in 2009 as part of the economic stimulus
plan have lost their luster since the federal government made
the attractive rebates paid to BABs issuers – the element that
made them popular with issuers and investors – subject to the
across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

Apr 8, 2013

Analysis: Illinois pension fix faces political, legal hurdles

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois lawmakers begin a two-month push on Monday to enact major pension reform, under pressure from taxpayers, workers, business groups and bond investors to fix the worst-funded state pension system in the United States.

The key objective: To put together a package of reform measures that are capable of addressing a nearly $100 billion unfunded pension liability, while still standing up to anticipated court challenges.

Apr 8, 2013

Illinois pension fix faces political, legal hurdles

CHICAGO, April 7 (Reuters) – Illinois lawmakers begin a
two-month push on Monday to enact major pension reform, under
pressure from taxpayers, workers, business groups and bond
investors to fix the worst-funded state pension system in the
United States.

The key objective: To put together a package of reform
measures that are capable of addressing a nearly $100 billion
unfunded pension liability, while still standing up to
anticipated court challenges.

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.