Lisa's Feed
Mar 11, 2011

Senator close to “rebranding” Build America Bonds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Ron Wyden told a White House meeting he is ready to propose a new version of the Build America Bonds program that was part of the federal stimulus plan and that expired in December.

The very popular taxable bonds paid issuers federal rebates equal to 35 percent of interest costs.

Mar 10, 2011

U.S. municipal bond market now at $2.9 trillion-Fed

WASHINGTON, March 10 (Reuters) – The amount of outstanding
municipal bonds grew by $116.2 billion last year to end at $2.9
trillion, U.S. Federal Reserve data released on Thursday
showed, with almost half of that growth in the last quarter of
2010.

The taxable Build America Bonds program expired in 2010,
and in the final quarter issuers rushed to market to take
advantage of the steep federal rebate the bonds paid, which was
equal to 35 percent of interest costs.

Mar 9, 2011

NYC employees earn less than private peers: Comptroller

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New York City employees are paid 17 percent less on average than people working in the private sector, according to a study released by the city’s comptroller on Wednesday.

The city is the 11th largest employer in the United States, with more people on its payrolls than Hewlett-Packard, General Electric and Bank of America Corp, the report from Comptroller John Liu found.

Mar 8, 2011

Public pensions will have to fight for funds-group

WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) – Future state spending
probably will not return to levels reached before the U.S.
economic recession, forcing public pensions to compete against
other programs for every dollar, the head of a state budget
officers group said on Tuesday.

“If you ask a state budget officer what they think spending
will look like over a 10-year period going forward, they will
tell you the ‘new normal’ means a much lower rate of
year-over-year revenue growth and spending growth,” said Scott
Pattison, executive director of the National Association of
State Budget Officers.

Mar 4, 2011

Jobs outlook in public sector grows dimmer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The jobs outlook is growing dimmer and dimmer for the U.S. public sector.

Federal employment data released on Friday shows that state and local governments are shedding thousands of jobs even as Republican political leaders say more layoffs are on the way.

Mar 3, 2011

Budget hardships continue for U.S. counties: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Counties across the United State are still reeling from the effects of the recession, slammed by declining aid from state governments and lower tax revenues, according to a survey by the National Association of Counties released on Thursday.

Almost one-quarter of the 500 counties surveyed said they have laid off workers, with all counties of populations topping 1 million having eliminated jobs, the study found. Counties are also reorganizing, delaying projects and using reserves.

Mar 1, 2011

Expanding Medicaid will cost US states billions-study

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) – The costs to U.S. states of
the Medicaid insurance program for the poor will grow by
hundreds of billions of dollars under the healthcare law passed
last year, according to a report released by Republicans in the
Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“This law, because of Medicaid expansions, has put a strain
on state budgets,” Senator Orrin Hatch, one of the report’s
sponsors, told a meeting of hospital administrators on Tuesday.
“Medicaid expansions threaten to bankrupt the states.”

Feb 28, 2011

Obama offers states flexibility on healthcare law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama extended an olive branch on Monday to U.S. states struggling to implement his healthcare law, offering support for a proposal that would give them some flexibility in carrying out its key parts.

Obama’s signature healthcare reform plan aims to lower costs and extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, but the controversial law has divided Democrats and Republicans and handed states — more than half of which are suing over its constitutionality — a handful of bureaucratic challenges.

Feb 27, 2011

Rising oil prices could stall states’ recoveries

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rising oil prices could trample prospects for economic recovery in many states, three governors warned on Sunday, as a leading economist said they also threaten the country’s economic comeback.

“Oil prices — I hope don’t go any higher,” said Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. “But everywhere now one hears there’s more than a minor risk they’re going to go a lot higher.”

Feb 26, 2011

States fear budget cuts, shutdown threats

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Governors of U.S. states see a new threat to their fragile budget and economic situations: the federal government.

On Saturday, governors from across the country warned that federal budget cuts and a government shutdown could hurt states’ slow economic recovery and said suggestions to allow states to declare bankruptcy damaged their ability to borrow.