That “loan” may be a “bond”

By Cate Long
September 12, 2011

That “loan” may be a “bond”

In a groundbreaking announcement, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has advised municipal bond market participants that many “bank loans” currently being structured for state and local governments are likely to be classified as municipal securities, even though these “bank loans” are often being privately placed.

Smooth sailing in muniland

By Cate Long
August 16, 2011

Lately a lot of big waves have washed over muniland. The national economy has slowed; the 2009 federal stimulus program to the states has ended; there have been loud headlines about bankruptcy cases in Jefferson County, Alabama and Central Falls, Rhode Island; and Standard & Poor’s downgraded the debt of the United States with potential effects on the borrowing ability of states and municipalities. It’s a laundry list of woes.

Oh Illinois!

By Cate Long
July 25, 2011

 

Oh Illinois!

Illinois has massive problems: the state has more liabilities than assets, and the credit-default swap market says they are the number one state at risk for default (see chart above). The Bond Buyer ran an excellent story on how the liabilities of Illinois are rapidly increasing:

“To win the future, we must dream big and build big”

By Cate Long
June 30, 2011

America’s Interstate Highway System celebrates 55 years

This is the best example of how public infrastructure can really anchor tremendous economic growth. We can learn from history and use this time of economic challenge to conceive of equally profound infrastructure goals. From Fastlane, the blog of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood:

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:

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:

Datapooloza

By Cate Long
June 8, 2011

The thing I hear most often about muniland is how murky the market is. It is rather astounding that the municipal market is so little understood given its size and its effects on state and local governments and tax rates. To help shake the market up and create more transparency, I thought it would be helpful to start gathering muniland data sets for people to start playing with. Have at it, friends. Please send over any interesting findings.

Debt loads

By Cate Long
May 25, 2011

The panic surrounding municipal debt rarely references data from other government bodies, such as the debt of the U.S. federal government or European states. If we compare state debt loads to the sovereign liabilities of Western developed countries, they look eminently manageable.

Muni sweeps: Going once… going twice…

By Cate Long
April 21, 2011

ebay

Kentucky sells assets on eBay

The Lexington Herald Leader reports that Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has put up two aged planes from the states fleet of 15 for sale on eBay.