Financing more solar energy

October 15, 2013

Most discussion of solar energy in the U.S. is focused on the large, centralized photovoltaic installations that are going up in the sunny parts of the country. But there is another rapidly growing area in site-based residential or commercial solar installations. Traditionally these small installations have been hard to finance, but there are some powerful new mechanisms that may accelerate growth.

The cost-benefit of college sports

October 11, 2013

A Moody’s report published on Thursday looks at the risk that expensive athletics programs pose to American universities. The majority of these programs lose money, but it has been arguable that athletic success typically enhances a university’s image. It’s a spending gamble, then, for schools to employ to attract students. Moody’s writes:

The SEC’s role in building better markets

October 11, 2013

The SEC has just launched a new part of its website dedicated to analyzing the structure of equity markets. Here is how the SEC describes it:

Dodd-Frank appears in muniland

October 10, 2013

Already the long reach of Dodd-Frank into muniland is having an effect. tells the story (emphasis mine):

Investing in America’s largest transit system

October 9, 2013

I often forget how exciting capital investment can be. Most of us in muniland think more about bond structures, credit ratings and yields than about the actual projects being built. A short report about the MTA from Morningstar Municipal caught my attention:

Puerto Rico tax revenues must pick up pace

October 7, 2013

Infant Moscow muni bond market resembles U.S.

October 7, 2013

For those of us in muniland used to massively oversubscribed municipal bond offerings, this report from the Moscow Times came as a shock:

The story behind state business incentives

October 4, 2013

Louise Story of the New York Times made an epic journalism effort late last year when she documented the level of state business incentives made to corporate entities. The team arrived at the massive number of $80 billion per year of state and local inducements that go to private firms. From their reporting:

Puerto Rico’s moral hazard

October 3, 2013

Puerto Rico’s short term funding needs are sending out warning bells. The Padilla Administration has been pushing the Commonwealth Legislative Assembly to agree to an increase in the Sales Use Tax to 3.5 percent from 2.75 percent. With this diverted revenue, the government could issue a third series of Cofina bonds for approximately $2 billion. This third tranche would be subordinate to the first two series of Cofina bonds, but have higher ratings than PR general obligations bonds and other public authority debt. The additional Cofina debt may be needed for short-term borrowing done through private placements.

The ‘unintended consequences’ of flood insurance reform

October 1, 2013

Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy left about $220 billion in total property damages in their wake. Katrina caused approximately $16 billion in flood damages and required the flood insurance program overseer, FEMA, to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to cover insured losses. Losses from Sandy could push FEMA borrowing from the U.S. Treasury to $28 billion when all claims are paid.