Lisa's Feed
May 10, 2011

Obama administration fights to save healthcare law

RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) – Lawyers for President Barack Obama go to court on Tuesday to try to save the cornerstone of his healthcare overhaul, arguing that the requirement for Americans to buy insurance is constitutional.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will consider whether a lower court was correct in striking down the requirement. But they will not be the final arbiter in a fight that is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

May 5, 2011

House Republicans want to help states on jobless debt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leading Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday introduced a bill that would allow states to pay down debts for unemployment benefits with federal funds set aside for emergency aid.

The legislation, introduced by the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp, along with Kentucky’s Geoff Davis and North Dakota’s Rick Berg, would rely on $31 billion designated for extended unemployment benefits.

May 4, 2011

UBS settles with U.S. in muni bond case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – UBS AG acknowledged that its former employees in its municipal bond reinvestment desk broke the law, and agreed to pay $160 million to federal and state agencies, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

UBS settled with the Justice Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service and 25 state attorneys general.

Apr 29, 2011

Bring BABs back and cap tax-exempts: think tank

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bringing back Build America Bonds (BABs) would entice investors into the $2.9 trillion U.S. municipal bond market and promote infrastructure investment, the Center for American Progress said on Friday.

But at the same time, the left-leaning think tank called for a cap on the issuance of the tax-exempt debt.

Apr 26, 2011

U.S. states face growing pension gaps

WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) – U.S. states are short
$1.26 trillion in paying for public employee pensions and other
retirement benefits, a gap that grew 26 percent in one year and
will take many more years to wipe out, according to a report
released on Tuesday.

A total of 31 states had pensions that were underfunded in
fiscal 2009, the latest year for which data is available, up
from 22 states a year earlier, the Pew Center on the States
reported.

Apr 21, 2011

Analysis: Pension funds try to get rates right

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A testy exchange between a congressman and a governor at a U.S. congressional hearing last week highlighted an issue few Americans ever ponder: rates of return on public pension investments.

“If somebody told me they expected to get an 8 to 8.5 percent return I’d say they were probably smoking those maple leaves,” Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah told Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, which is renowned for its maple trees.

Apr 21, 2011

Public pension fund assets nearly $3 trillion: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The assets held by state and local government pension funds rose to $2.93 trillion in 2010, a 35 percent increase from their lowest point during the financial crisis, two national associations said on Thursday.

“Rising capital markets, strong long-term investment returns, and actions by many states to preserve or restore the affordability and sustainability of their pension plans have all played a role,” said the National Association of State Retirement Administrators and National Council on Teacher Retirement in a special brief on the funds’ improving health.

Apr 21, 2011

US public pension fund assets nearly $3 trln-study

WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) – The assets held by state
and local government pension funds rose to $2.93 trillion in
2010, a 35 percent increase from their lowest point during the
financial crisis, two national associations said on Thursday.

“Rising capital markets, strong long-term investment
returns, and actions by many states to preserve or restore the
affordability and sustainability of their pension plans have
all played a role,” said the National Association of State
Retirement Administrators and National Council on Teacher
Retirement in a special brief on the funds’ improving health.

Apr 20, 2011

States in budget paradox: more money, more gaps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Many states are facing a paradox as they prepare for a new fiscal year: their revenues are improving but they still have budget shortfalls, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday.

Most states begin their next fiscal year in July, and the group representing state lawmakers found at least 31 states and Puerto Rico expect shortfalls that total $86.1 billion.

Apr 19, 2011

Revenue up for U.S. states, down for cities

WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) – The financial picture of
U.S. states brightened further early his year as revenue
collections grew, but at the local level it remained dim,
largely due to the continuing effects of the housing bust,
according to data from an independent research group released
on Tuesday.

Overall state collections increased 9.5 percent in January
and February from the same months the year before, according to
the Rockefeller Institute’s preliminary data.