Muni sweeps: Muniland hits the airwaves

June 10, 2011

Change can be glacial, but it happens

Bloomberg digs a little deeper into the story of pension-fund woes and finds California municipalities are already adopting changes, with more to come:

In a survey by the League of California Cities, two-thirds of the 296 localities that responded said they’re negotiating changes in their plans. Thirty-eight percent had increased pension payments from current employees, and 20 percent had created a new tier of benefits for future hires.

Some believe the changes at the local level, particularly lower benefits for future workers, don’t go far enough.

“It deals with new hires, and right now we’re not hiring,” said John Moorlach, a supervisor in Orange County. “The only real change you can have is to go back to bargaining units” and negotiate increases from existing members, he said.

Blip blip

Chip Barnett of Reuters reports on the tiny inflow muniland-bond funds saw this week:

For the first time in over six months, investors turned bullish on U.S. municipal bond funds and poured millions of dollars back into them, according to Lipper data issued on Thursday.

Muni bond funds saw more than $274 million of net inflows in the week ended June 8, breaking 29 straight weeks of redemptions, Lipper reported. The last time muni funds had posted an inflow was in the week ended Nov. 10, 2010.

Transparency coming to private California conduit issuer

Brilliant reporting by Randall Jensen of the Bond Buyer on the murky dealings of the privately subcontracted conduit-issuer in California. It’s an arcane area of muniland, but it raises questions about privatizing public functions. I think we will be hearing more about this. From the Bond Buyer:

California’s largest conduit bond issuer and its private contractor are on the defensive after recent attacks on its roles both in and out of the state.

The rumblings include a state lawmaker’s recent call for an audit of two large conduit issuers structured as joint powers authorities — the California Statewide Communities Development Authority and the California Municipal Finance Authority — and reactions around the country to the opening last year of a CSCDA-linked conduit issuer in Wisconsin that handles nationwide deals.

Muniland hits the airwaves

Many thanks to Matthew Boesler of Benzinga for inviting me to comment on the discrepancies in the Federal Reserve’s municipal-bond data. My first radio interview! You can hear it here.

States’ cost of issuance varies widely

Bloomberg brings us some good analysis on the variance in costs different states face when they issue municipal bonds. I wonder what causes the wide spreads?

State $ cost per $1,000 $ cost per $ 10 million
Delaware $ 4.92 $ 49,200
Nebraska $ 11.40 $ 114,000
Guam $ 12.68 $ 126,800


Mini sweeps

CNBC: McHenry: Whitney Should Testify to Congress on Munis

Bloomberg: Citigroup Blames Volatility on Investors Fed Forgot: Muni Credit

Bloomberg: Muni Bond Holdings Cut by Mutual Funds, Households, Fed Says

Ipreo: Muni Deal Calendar (w/o June 13, 2011)

CNBC: Was Meredith Wrong on Munis?

CNBC: S&P Reacts to Meredith Whitney

Bloomberg: Amazon May Soon Need to Collect Sales Tax

eBooleant: Rising State Revenue Redux

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