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Oct 13, 2013

U.S. lawmakers hope Senate leaders can break fiscal impasse as deadline looms

WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers voiced
tentative optimism Sunday that fiscal crisis talks between
Senate leaders would pave the way to a deal to avert a
government default and reopen the government, but Democrats and
Republicans remained far apart on details.

As the clock ticked down to a Thursday deadline for raising
the U.S. debt ceiling, necessary to avoid a possible government
default that would roil world financial markets, both Democratic
and Republican senators said the fact their leaders were meeting
represented progress.

Oct 11, 2013

Federal funding in limbo, U.S. states weigh paying for programs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the battle in Congress over the U.S. budget grinds on, states say they may soon have to choose between putting their own dollars into federal programs for residents or letting vitally important services such as food stamps lapse.

“States have thus far managed to avoid closing or suspending most programs and services by using carry-over funds or, in some cases, by using state spending to fill in for missing federal dollars,” the bipartisan National Governors Association said in a letter sent to congressional leaders on Thursday. “However, states are not in a position to be the bank for the federal government,”

Oct 4, 2013

Shutdown halts rebates on Build America Bonds, dents appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The inability of the U.S. Treasury to send Build America Bond payments to state and local governments during the federal government shutdown is the latest blow to hopes these securities might grow into an alternative to tax-exempt municipal bonds.

Taxable Build America Bonds, created in the 2009 economic stimulus plan, pay issuers federal rebates equal to 35 percent of the bonds’ interest costs. The rebates were so attractive that state and local governments rushed to sell $181 billion BABs in the 20 months of the program’s existence.

Sep 25, 2013

Shaken U.S. municipal bond market contracted in second quarter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rising interest rates shook up the U.S. municipal bond market in the middle of the year, bringing a long run of refinancing to a halt and tempering new debt sales, Federal Reserve data showed on Wednesday.

The amount of outstanding municipal debt shrank in the second quarter to $3.721 trillion from $3.729 trillion in the first quarter and from $3.732 trillion a year earlier, the Fed said.

Sep 25, 2013

Shaken U.S. municipal bond market contracted in 2nd qtr

WASHINGTON, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Rising interest rates shook
up the U.S. municipal bond market in the middle of the year,
bringing a long run of refinancing to a halt and tempering new
debt sales, Federal Reserve data showed on Wednesday.

The amount of outstanding municipal debt shrank in the
second quarter to $3.721 trillion from $3.729 trillion in the
first quarter and from $3.732 trillion a year earlier, the Fed
said.

Sep 24, 2013

U.S. state tax revenues hit record highs in 2nd quarter -Census

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Tax revenues for U.S. states
soared to their highest in 25 years in the second quarter as
personal income tax collections reached record amounts, U.S.
Census data released on Tuesday showed.

Total state tax revenues rose 9.4 percent from the second
quarter of 2012 to $259.6 billion, the largest intake on records
going back to 1988 and the 15th straight quarter of increases.

Sep 23, 2013

U.S. public pension investments jump, costs surge too

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Asset values at U.S. public pension funds rose 8.4 percent in the latest fiscal year to the highest level in more than 40 years, but their costs also rose, the U.S. Census reported on Monday.

Most retirement systems ended fiscal 2013 on June 30. In the final quarter of that fiscal year the cash and securities holdings of the 100 largest public-employee pensions were $2.944 trillion, up 8.4 percent from a year earlier and the highest level since the Census began collecting pension data in 1968.

Sep 18, 2013

U.S. SEC approves long-awaited municipal adviser rule

WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission unanimously approved on Wednesday a
long-awaited rule to bring the financial advisers of
municipalities under federal oversight, saying appointed and
elected officials of local governments were exempt from its
requirements.

The exemption should allay bond market concerns that the
regulation of municipal advisers required under the Dodd-Frank
financial reform law would cast too wide a net and force
officials and volunteers with only tertiary involvement in
financial decisions of cities, counties, authorities and
non-profit organizations to comply with complicated securities
law.

Sep 18, 2013

U.S. SEC unveils scaled-back municipal adviser rule

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Employees and appointed officials of municipal governments would not have to register as financial advisers under a final rule federal regulators were set to finalize on Wednesday, which should allay bond market concerns that new laws on advisers would ensnare too many people in cumbersome regulation.

In its final definition of financial advisers, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said it was also narrowing the term “investment strategies” to apply only to the investment of proceeds from bond sales rather than to all public funds.

Sep 18, 2013

SEC to unveil CEO pay ratio rule, adopt municipal adviser rule

WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – U.S. corporations will need
to disclose how their chief executive’s paycheck compares to
that of their average worker under a proposal set to be unveiled
on Wednesday by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC’s CEO pay ratio rule is championed by unions and
labor advocates who say the disclosures will help investors
identify whether a company’s compensation model is too
top-heavy.