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Aug 10, 2011

Some U.S. states, cities could face stress-Moody’s

WASHINGTON, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Moody’s Investors Services
said on Wednesday that most state, local government and public
authorities that issue debt in the U.S. municipal bond market
are “well insulated from shock,” but added that some could be
weakened during significant market volatility.

“Most municipal issuers are somewhat weaker than they were
prior to the last major market disruption,” said Moody’s
Managing Director Timothy Blake in a statement. “This is why
some may face significant stress if hostile market conditions
emerge.”

Aug 5, 2011

State and local job loss menaces US recovery – analysts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – State and local governments continued shedding thousands of jobs in July, part of a trend that analysts say could damage everything from trash collection to the entire U.S. economy.

“We are looking at the worst contraction of state and local government employment since 1981,” said John Lonski, chief economist for Moody’s Capital Markets Research.

Aug 5, 2011

State, local job loss menaces recovery: analysts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – State and local governments continued shedding thousands of jobs in July, part of a trend that analysts say could damage everything from trash collection to the entire U.S. economy.

“We are looking at the worst contraction of state and local government employment since 1981,” said John Lonski, chief economist for Moody’s Capital Markets Research.

Aug 1, 2011

Muni board keeping eye on U.S. debt fight’s effects

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Regulators are keeping an
eye on the U.S. municipal bond market as Congress races to
approve a deal to keep the country from defaulting on its
debt, the chairman of the board that drafts rules and collects
bond information said on Monday.

If the United States did default on its debt or if a
rating agency downgrades the country’s triple-A credit rating,
the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board would give guidance
on the pricing of muni debt — if the board determined the
pricing was unclear or unfair, the MSRB chairman said. Such
guidance typically serves as a warning or stern reminder if
the board sees a threat to the market’s transparency.

Jul 22, 2011

U.S. spending dispute halts airport construction

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) – Airport projects across the
United States will shut down this weekend and thousands of
federal workers will be furloughed after Congress failed to
agree to fully fund the Federal Aviation Administration.

“This is no way to run the best aviation system in the
world,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement
on Friday after the House of Representatives and the Senate
finished work for the week without approving stop-gap funding.

Jul 21, 2011

Thousands of jobs at risk in airport fight: LaHood

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Thousands of construction workers will lose their jobs and $2.5 billion in airport projects will come to a halt this weekend if Congress does not quickly approve new federal aviation funding, the Obama administration warned on Thursday.

Projects in all 50 states would be affected but California, Florida, New York and Georgia stand to lose the most money if lawmakers to do not sort out political differences in legislation to temporarily pay for certain Federal Aviation Administration operations.

Jul 15, 2011

Schooled in austerity, students reluctantly borrow

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When Emi Young decided to attend Pomona College in California a few years ago, she broke with a tradition as closely associated with U.S. universities as fraternity parties and cramming for final exams.

Young did not take out one dime of student loans.

Moreover, she preferred Pomona to other schools because it does not include loans in the financial aid packages offered to students, solely supplying grants and student employment.

Jun 30, 2011

Public pension investments up, reforms afoot

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Investments made by public employee retirement systems are rising in value, Census data showed on Thursday, but the gains will not close their shortfalls or end the nationwide fight over revamping them.

Total holdings and investments at the 100 largest public retirement systems grew 3.6 percent, to $2.7 trillion, in the first quarter of 2011 from the final quarter of 2010, the Census said. That marked the third straight quarter of growth.

Jun 28, 2011

US state, local budgets closer to recovery -report

WASHINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) – State and local governments
brought in record first-quarter revenues this year, according
to a U.S. Census Bureau report released on Tuesday that offered
a sign their budget crises may be abating.

Total state and local revenues for the first quarter
reached $321.6 billion, a 4.7 percent rise from the first
quarter of 2010 and the highest level on records going back to
1988. It marked “the sixth consecutive quarter of positive
year-over-year growth,” the Census said.

May 25, 2011

Education grants made available for nine states

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nine states will be eligible to compete for education grants of up to $50 million through President Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” program, the federal government said on Wednesday.

The states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina — were picked in the third round of grant competition after they failed to win funding in their first two tries.