Lisa's Feed
Oct 20, 2011

Poverty rates up in most U.S. states, cities: Census

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The ranks of the poor rose in almost all U.S. states and cities in 2010, despite the end of the longest and deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression the year before, U.S. Census data released on Thursday showed.

Mississippi and New Mexico had the highest poverty rates, with more than one out of every five people in each state living in poverty. Mississippi’s poverty rate led, at 22.4 percent, followed by New Mexico at 20.4 percent.

Oct 18, 2011

Exclusive: Doing less with less – U.S. counties cut spending

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Counties across the United States are slashing spending and making long-term changes to their budgets as federal and state governments pull back on aid, according to a survey to be released on Wednesday.

“Although most financial analysts believe that the recession ended more than a year ago, local economies affecting county governments continue to struggle toward recovery,” the National Association of Counties found in its survey of 233 counties in 38 states.

Oct 14, 2011

More attacks likely against tax breaks for U.S. munis

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Legislative strikes
against the tax exemption associated with U.S. municipal bonds
are not likely to end soon, but will probably come in a variety
of forms, according to analysts and lawyers.

“Let me assure you that, very unfortunately, reports of the
demise of the 28 percent cap are greatly exaggerated,” said
Victoria Rostow, director of governmental affairs for the
National Association of Bond Lawyers at an association meeting
on Thursday.

Oct 10, 2011

Late financial reports dog U.S. localities

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) – States, cities, counties and
others who sell debt in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond
market continue to struggle with providing prompt financial
information to the public.

A report by Merritt Research Services released on Thursday
found it took an average of 141.3 days for municipal bond
issuers to complete audited financial reports for fiscal 2010,
which ended for most in June 2010. That was only a slight dip
from the average of 141.6 days in fiscal 2009.

Oct 7, 2011

Late financial reports dog U.S. localities: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – States, cities, counties and others who sell debt in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market continue to struggle with providing prompt financial information to the public.

A report by Merritt Research Services released on Thursday found it took an average of 141.3 days for municipal bond issuers to complete audited financial reports for fiscal 2010, which ended for most in June 2010. That was only a slight dip from the average of 141.6 days in fiscal 2009.

Oct 4, 2011

Obama plan seen sparking 400,000 education jobs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s latest economic plan could save or create up to 400,000 education jobs, the White House said on Tuesday as Obama pushed his $447 billion plan to revive the economy.

Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act would provide $30 billion for state and local efforts to retain, rehire and hire educators, supporting 392,400 jobs, according to projections released by the Education Department and White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Oct 4, 2011

Republicans question Federal Reserve’s dual mandate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Republican leader in Congress was poised on Tuesday to introduce legislation to strip the Federal Reserve of its mandate to ensure full employment, the latest bid in Washington to clip the central bank’s powers.

Representative Kevin Brady told a hearing of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee that restricting the Fed’s mandate to price stability would not mean the issue of employment would be ignored.

Oct 3, 2011

Analysis: New plans may not save public pensions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – To fix their persistent pension problems, some U.S. states are looking to reshape their retirement plans to resemble those in the private sector, but they may find may employees resistant and the savings elusive.

Over the last few decades, the private sector has ditched traditional pension plans with their defined benefits. They have been replaced with defined contribution accounts, such as 401(k)s, in which employees allocate a set amount each month to invest — often partly matched by employers — and then cash out at retirement.

Sep 30, 2011

Analysis: Move to new plans may not save public pensions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – To fix their persistent pension problems, some states are looking to reshape their retirement plans to resemble those in the private sector, but they may find may employees resistant and the savings elusive.

Over the last few decades, the private sector has ditched traditional pension plans with their defined benefits. They have been replaced with defined contribution accounts, such as 401(k)s, in which employees allocate a set amount each month to invest — often partly matched by employers — and then cash out at retirement.

Sep 29, 2011

Public pensions get a lift from stocks: Census

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Public pensions, stung by the financial crisis and government cutbacks, have enjoyed steadily improving investments for nearly two years, mostly due to stocks, U.S. Census data released on Thursday showed.

In the second quarter of 2011, public pensions’ total holdings and investments rose for the fourth quarter in a row to the highest level since the middle of 2008, the Census said. From the quarter before, they rose 1.3 percent to $2.8 trillion. And from the year before, they jumped 17.6 percent to $2.4 trillion.