Green shoots?

By Cate Long
June 29, 2011

Green shoots?

Reuters reports on recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau that shows how tax revenues are improving:

Greening the city

By Cate Long
June 27, 2011

Greening the city

Many cities took a big step forward for clean air when they adopted buses fueled by natural gas. But there are other important projects that will make getting around easier, quieter and less polluting. New York City is getting ready to take a big step. From American City:

8 weakest U.S. states

By Cate Long
June 24, 2011

According to the credit rating agencies and the bond markets, these are the 8 states with the weakest credit profiles. These states may be weak because their debts are too big, because their economy is flagging or because they haven’t adequately funded the retirement of their employees. If this were a school, these would be the students sitting in the back of the class. Maybe it’s time for these states to do a little more homework.

The declining welfare rolls

By Cate Long
June 24, 2011

The ever-shrinking welfare rolls

Stateline has done some very good reporting on the decline of the welfare rolls. Welfare funding was switched to block grants in 1996, and the funding level has remained the same since then. From Stateline:

Save the $100,000 that Meredith Whitney charges for research

By Cate Long
June 23, 2011

Just the numbers please

You can save the $100,000 that Meredith Whitney charges for her research. Reuters has the data on municipal bond issuers with the weakest profiles by bond-market standards. Puerto Rico leads the pack as the least credit-worthy issuer.

No allowance if you don’t do your homework

By Cate Long
June 22, 2011

Photo: California State Controller John Chiang

No allowance if you don’t do your homework

California’s Legislature rushed through a budget last week that they thought was balanced. The State Comptroller has ruled otherwise, and now he is withholding lawmakers’ salaries, the New York Times reports today:

Muni swaps moving higher

By Cate Long
June 21, 2011

Lisa Pollack of Markit in London sent over some interesting charts of U.S. municipal swaps. I put up this one which shows the market perception that risk is increasing again for some states, particularly Illinois and California. It is important to remember that these markets are thinly traded and that there is a large block of muni CDS written on California that is coming to market from the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

Muni sweeps: California’s first budget veto

By Cate Long
June 17, 2011

Some thorny action in California on the state budget:

California Governor Jerry Brown, who failed to win Republican support of tax extensions in six months of negotiations, said he’d “move heaven and earth” in another attempt after vetoing a budget without the provision.

Muni sweeps: Important deals for CA and NJ

By Cate Long
June 16, 2011

New Jersey municipal employees to pay more for benefits

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the state Democratic leadership have reached agreement on reducing employee benefits:

Jobs or infrastructure?

By Cate Long
June 15, 2011

America is a high-energy society — that is, we consume a lot of energy. According to Wikipedia the United States has long been the world’s largest producer and consumer of electricity, with a global share in 2005 of at least 25%. This consumption is a primary driver of growth. Energy is our economic blood.