Muni sweeps: Muniland reins in the borrowing

By Cate Long
June 14, 2011


Excellent chart from Barry Ritholtz’s The Big Picture. He uses data from the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds Accounts to map credit flows. State and local governments have become negative borrowers in the first quarter as the amount of bonds that have matured and the amount of principal that has been repaid exceeded new bond issuance. States and municipalities are making the hard fiscal choices and restraining borrowing and expenditures. It’s painful, but it must be done.

Muni sweeps: Taxes are the fuel for public sphere

By Cate Long
June 13, 2011

Taxes are the fuel for the government. Without taxation the state withers. Our governments have taken on so many responsibilities but have become starved for fuel. There is much debate on how much we as a country should spend on entitlements and defense, but often these arguments are made on the premise that the United States has higher taxes than other nations.

Muni sweeps: Muniland hits the airwaves

By Cate Long
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:

Muni sweeps: Hot times in Sacramento

By Cate Long
June 9, 2011

California needs to extend tax increases to balance budget

These are hot times in Sacramento.  California’s constitution requires the legislature to send a budget to the governor by June 15.  Time is running out to patch up an agreement, and there is a new incentive for lawmakers to get it done. From Bloomberg:

Muni sweeps: Lockyer rides again

By Cate Long
June 8, 2011

CA Treasurer launches another derivatives investigation

We often see Wall Street selling sophisticated products to state and local governments which are not appropriate for them — think interest rate swaps and Jefferson County. So it’s always refreshing to find a government official who actually tries to keep Wall Street in line.

Muni sweeps: Derivatives transparency for dummies

By Cate Long
June 3, 2011

Downdraft

The colorful chart above is from Lisa Pollock of Markit and shows the states which have the most traded credit-default swaps and their spreads to the benchmark. Bloomberg has more on that theme.

Muni Sweeps: Muni CDS

By Cate Long
June 2, 2011

Lisa Pollack of Markit in London posted via Twitpic this table of DTCC data on municipal credit default swaps. Since California is the biggest muniland issuer it’s not a big surprise that it leads with the greatest number of contracts outstanding.

Muni sweeps: Grand Rapids singing her song

By Cate Long
May 31, 2011

A post-Memorial day salute to all who have served our nation!

Grand Rapids shakes her booty

In Michigan, the decline of the U.S. auto industry has shrunk many cities. In January Newsweek highlighted the decline of American cities and identified Grand Rapids as a city on a downward spiral. Grand Rapids has fought back, producing the video above to show the vitality of their city. Good on you Grand Rapids. Your sense of caring and community shines through. (H/T CuriousityCounts.com)

Muni sweeps: How much job creation?

By Cate Long
May 27, 2011

Job creation or program pass-through?

The Congressional Budget Office has published a new report entitled “Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from January 2011 Through March 2011.” It makes some large claims about how many jobs stimulus funds have created:

Muni sweeps: Hack for change

By Cate Long
May 26, 2011


Hack for Change

Attention Muniland! Do you have an idea for a public web or mobile application? Change.org is sponsoring a Hack for Change on June 18th and 19th and is soliciting ideas for their programming competition. Here are some of the ideas that have already been posted: