Lisa's Feed
Jun 13, 2013

Budgets rebound but states to limit spending increases

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Most U.S. states are set to end this fiscal year in solid financial shape, but a report on Thursday said an array of threats including federal budget cuts and potential sales tax declines will keep state spending.

The survey of states’ fiscal conditions conducted by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers found that revenues have come in stronger than expected this fiscal year, and “a number of states could finish fiscal 2013 with modest surpluses.”

Jun 10, 2013

Detroit adviser to return $3 million to pension fund -SEC

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) – A Detroit-based investment
adviser agreed to give back $3.1 million that U.S. regulators
allege he stole from a pension fund for the city’s police and
firefighters, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said
on Monday.

Chauncey Mayfield, who is the head of MayfieldGentry Realty
Advisors, took the money so he could buy two strip malls in
California, the SEC said.

Jun 6, 2013

Bank holdings of U.S. municipal bonds hit record high

WASHINGTON, June 6 (Reuters) – The banking sector is
becoming a greater force in the U.S. municipal bond market, with
Federal Reserve data on Thursday showing that banks’ holdings of
municipal bonds reached a record $374.2 billion in the first
quarter of 2013.

The sector now holds more than 10 percent of outstanding
municipal bonds, nearly double its 5.9 percent market share in
2007, according to the Federal Reserve report.

May 23, 2013

Former Goldman banker settles SEC ‘pay-to-play’ charges

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker has agreed to a five-year securities industry ban and a record fine to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that he broke rules against influence peddling to win bond underwriting business in Massachusetts.

Without admitting or denying wrongdoing, Neil Morrison, 38, accepted what the SEC said was the first industry ban for violating “pay-to-play” rules governing the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market.

May 16, 2013

April income tax collections climb in many states, but may be a blip

By Karen Pierog and Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – Personal income tax collections rose by 37 percent in April from a year ago, according to a sample of states, but the improvements may not continue as a still-shaky economy, tax cuts in some states and federal budget woes could team up to depress revenue growth.

Excluding California, which had the biggest gain of the 21 states that have so far reported collections in April, the total increase was still a solid 22 percent.

May 7, 2013

Moody’s: Municipal defaults up since crisis, but still low

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – Moody’s Investors Service said
on Tuesday that the number of defaults among the U.S. municipal
bonds it rates has risen since the financial crisis but still
remains low.

The economy has been recovering but many local governments
are buckling under a combination of stresses on their budgets,
with places such as Stockton, California, in bankruptcy.

May 7, 2013

SEC charges Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg with fraud

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Federal regulators on Monday accused Pennsylvania’s beleaguered capital, Harrisburg, of committing fraud, in a move that officials said is meant to send a warning to local officials about the accuracy of financial information they provide to investors and taxpayers.

It is the first time the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a municipality for making misleading statements outside of the disclosure documents provided in bond sales.

May 2, 2013

States balk at making up for cuts, guard revenues

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As they finalize budgets for the next fiscal year, many states are sending a message to the government about the effects of spending cuts known as sequestration on federally funded projects: You’re on your own.

Since sequestration began on March 1, states have warned they would not step in to make up for lower federal funding on programs. A survey released by the National Conference of State Legislatures on Thursday showed that they indeed are not compensating for the reductions, but are setting aside reserves in case the cuts slow their future revenues.

May 1, 2013

As municipalities turn more to bank loans, market races to catch up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Private bank loans are riding a wave of popularity among cities, counties and other local governments, leaving the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market racing to assess and contain any risks they may pose, a white paper said on Wednesday.

“Bank loans provide issuers with access to capital, supply needed cash flow…and can be easier and less costly to obtain for an issuer than a public debt issuance,” a task force that included members of nine major banking, investing, trading, and bond organizations said in the white paper.

Apr 29, 2013

Stimulus plan helped,but spending cuts may hit states -S&P

WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) – A major cutback in U.S.
federal spending could put at risk the credit ratings of states
across the nation, Standard & Poor’s Rating Service said on

S&P linked the above-average credit level of U.S. states, of
which only six, or 12 percent of the total, have debt ratings
below AA, to federal government spending and said cuts in
programs such as Medicaid, while unlikely, were a potentially
major risk.