MuniLand Snaps: March 19, 2012

A sad view of Harrrisburg, Pennsylvania, via the Reason Foundation.

Good Links

Governing: U.S. releases final rule on the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act

Bloomberg: U.S. states reduce taxes for the first time in 10 years, survey says

Reuters: ”City negotiators will surely hold the bankruptcy gun to stakeholders’ heads”

Bond Buyer: Banks compete to give direct loans to municipal issuers

Bloomberg: It might be early to call the bottom for muniland, but here is Bloomberg’s view

Barron’s: Muni bond fund manager talks his book

Plain Dealer: Gov. Kasich: Make sure Ohioans benefit from oil and gas tax dollars

MuniLand Snaps: March 16, 2012

Another great map from the Tax Foundation.

Good Links

Reuters: U.S. municipal bond funds report $698 million inflows, around half the amount of last week

Bond Buyer: Muni market groups strongly oppose floating NAVs for money market funds

Ipreo: Muni deal calendar (week of Mar. 19, 2012)

Bloomberg: Cigna buying corporate bonds while divesting municipal bonds

Bond Buyer: Michigan governor to Detroit: State won’t step in

Detroit News: Detroit mayor was allegedly given the proposed consent agreement last week with one hour to review it

MuniLand Snaps: March 15, 2012

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and others are paying for this ad on pension reform. Change is sweeping the nation.

Good Links

USA Today: “Property taxes may actually bring in fewer dollars this year than last”

Bond Buyer: Household muni ownership falls to two-year low

NCSL: Report: State pension reform 2009-2011

Bloomberg: Pension benefit costs cut by record 43 states, study says

Stateline: States that pursue “health homes” will get a 90 percent federal subsidy

MuniLand Snaps: March 13, 2012

From the Tax Foundation, this map on state gasoline tax rates speaks for itself.

Good Links

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston: Sharing the abundance

Mainliner Blog: S&P: State and local muni credit quality remained resilient

Governing: Are local government cuts nearing an end?

Bloomberg: U.S. local-government debt declines for first time since 1996, Fed reports

Sacramento Bee: Dan Walters: Two tales of pension accounting

LAT: LA Mayor Villaraigosa once again jumps on the third rail of California politics: Prop 13

MuniLand Snaps: March 12, 2012

The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs from Mar. 20 to Apr. 27. Washington, D.C. has an enormous event, but check your local area — there could be something there, too.

Good Links

Bloomberg: States hardest hit by housing collapse lead U.S. jobs recovery

Pension Dialog: Two notable reports on public pensions were published this past week

Bond Buyer: SEC is finalizing staff report on municipal market

MuniNetGuide: The rise, fall, and future of not-for-profit hospital debt issuance

MuniLand Snaps: March 9, 2012


If you live in Alaska, you pay $1.07 in taxes on a gallon of beer, the highest amount in the nation according to the Tax Foundation.

Good Links

Tax Foundation: Facts & Figures 2012 – How Does Your State Compare?

Reuters: To boost enrollment, rural public schools sell empty classroom seats abroad

Reuters: Size of U.S. municipal bond market remains flat at $3.74 trillion

Reuters: Muni bond critics yield a gift for investors

Ipreo: Muni deal calendar (week of March 12, 2012)

Bond Buyer: Treasury will issue rules covering new municipal bond issue pricing

AP: Illinois lawmakers set $33.7 billion budget limit

AP: Alabama joins the pension reform parade

WSJ: The Journal surveys market attitudes toward Puerto Rico’s debt

Utica Observer-Dispatch: Utica, NY receives $10 million of state aid to pay off loan from local bank

MuniLand Snaps: March 8, 2012

A woman wins a million dollars in the state lottery but still feels she’s justified to keep receiving food stamps. A local reporter tracks her down and confronts her. Although this discrepancy was extreme, I expect we will see government placing a higher burden of proof on welfare recipients to demonstrate need as state and local budgets tighten and the federal dollars that flow to them shrink. There will be less to go around, and the threshold for receiving welfare benefits will be higher.

Good Links

National Conference of State Legislatures: Percentages of women in state legislatures

American Public Radio: Washington state will limit emergency room Medicaid procedures

MuniLand Snaps: March 7, 2012

Bob Nelson, the product manager for Thomson Reuters MMD/TM3,  tweeted out this chart last night with the comment “AAA 10yr ratios went from 85% to 125% as supply ramped up in 2H 2011. vis. supply now highest since mid-Nov.” Translation: Municipal bonds are still expensive, although there has been a ton of new supply. Demand for municipal debt is massive and has disrupted the typical supply-demand relationship.

Good Links

MSRB: 2011 factbook for the municipal bond market

WSJ: Moody’s sees shakeout in weak municipalities

WSJ: S&P proposes new methodology for rating GO muni bonds

Pension Pulse: U.S. pension woes worsening?

Bloomberg: Table of state pension funding levels

Illinois Statehouse News: It’s not clear at all what Illinois needs to do about pensions

Bloomberg: Circuit judge blocks Florida pension cuts sought by Governor Scott

The Republic: Residents don’t pay any property taxes and have to disband town government

MuniLand Snaps: March 6, 2012

Watch the latest video at

Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation discusses the states with the highest and lowest business taxes. More background here via the Tax Foundation.

Good Links

MSRB: MSRB seeks SEC approval of rule to strengthen regulation of broker’s brokers

ISDA: ISDA publishes 2012 U.S. municipal reference entity CDS protocol

Bond Dealers of America: National Municipal Bond Summit agenda

Stateline: Laffer’s supply-side economics staging a comeback

Bloomberg: U.S. pension assets gained 16.4 percent in 2011: Wilshire

FT: Illinois state “on brink of collapse”

Dealbook: Teacher Retirement System of Texas buys ownership stake in a hedge fund

MuniLand Snaps: March 5, 2012

Changing energy consumption patterns in the United States will involve a lot of creative approaches. Here is a fascinating “cultural revolution in progress.” Via Grist

Good Links

GAO: Federal agency issues report on state and local government pension plan

NYT: Editorial: How to pay for pensions Mayor: Smaller pensions will save Providence

Bond Buyer: Puerto Rico, Houston and New York lead a hefty slate of municipal bond issuance

PA Budget and Policy Center: Banks, schools and the ongoing problem of interest rate swaps

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