MuniLand Snaps: March 2, 2012

Rather than addressing the nation’s huge fiscal and economic problems, Congress is blowing a lot of hot air about contraception. Here is a map of states requiring coverage and an excellent backgrounder on the issue from the Council of State Governments.

Good Links

WaPo: The trillions the government doesn’t account for

Center for American Progress: A “House America” bond for state housing finance agencies

Reuters: Slowing flows into municipal bond funds

Bloomberg: Virginia relies on defense for 13.9 percent of its gross state product

Reuters: Alabama legislators cool to bankrupt county’s woes

Bond Buyer: Harrisburg receiver considers sale of city assets

WSJ: A bond market certainty: Bonds of municipalities that are near default drop in price

Grist: As fracking boom hits Ohio, industry deceives landowners

@Twitter Talk

West Wing Report @WestWingReport West Wing Report‏   White House chart shows U.S. reliance on oil imports, 60% as recently as 2005, fell to 52% in 2009 and 45% in 2011 (

MuniLand Snaps: March 1, 2012

A muni health checkup for Q1 2012 via Van Eck Global. I really like mutual funds doing multimedia, but I’d suggest more graphs, charts and visuals. Pictures help tell muniland’s complex story.

Good Links

Council of State Governments: The essentials of the Affordable Care Act

AP: Although states are strangled by Medicaid costs, Obama urges governors to boost education funding

HuffPo: Growing number of Americans can’t afford food, study finds

Reuters: S&P says U.S. water utilities should consider rate hikes

Bond Buyer: Issuers refunding higher-interest bonds pushes up volume

Bloomberg: Stockton going broke: Police pay rising as California property collapsed

MuniLand Snaps: February 29, 2012

We build public projects, and we tear them down. Watch an explosive breach of Condit Dam from Andy Maser (hat tip: Gizmondo)

Good Links

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney: A 30,000-foot view of the municipal bond market

University of Illinois: New book on muniland: Managing the Fiscal Metropolis

Next American City: Water helps revive a washed-up industrial town

kevinonthestreet: Conversation with Ryan Sheftel, head of electronic market making at Credit Suisse

E*Trade: Bond desk helps E*Trade up their retail fixed income game

WSJ: California’s $2 billion muni bond deal starts well

Reuters: Stockton, California approves bond default plan

Star Tribune: Minnesota state senate strikes down teacher tenure

This Land Press: Oklahoma City is taser death capital of the U.S.

@Twitter Talk Minneapolis Fed @MinneapolisFed Minneapolis Fed Compare recoveries and recessions in the U.S. Charts updated with revision to Q4 GDP data.

ChicagoFed @ChicagoFed Chicago Fed A person’s annual medical expenses may rise from $2,000 at 70, to $30,000 at 100. What is the effect on savings?

MuniLand Snaps: February 28, 2012

State income tax rates range from zero percent in seven states to 8.95 percent in the District of Columbia. Via the Tax Foundation

Good Links

Institutional Investor: How the government is robbing pension plans

Stateline: When is a temporary tax increase really temporary?

Morningstar: States positioned to avoid default

Barron’s: Morgan Stanley issues sell rating for muniland

WSJ:  High yields — and defaults — for retirement community bonds

MSRB: Muniland trade prices on your cell phone?

Detroit News: Detroit running out of cash

Pennsylvania Independent: Early release of prisoners could save money

Today is the day Harrisburg: Harrisburg’s use of sewer funds contested

Daily Bankruptcy Review: The tangled Jefferson County bankruptcy mess

@Twitter Talk Freddie Mac@FreddieMac Freddie Mac S&P/Case-Shiller – all 3 Home Price Composites end 2011 at new lows: stonecircle @stone_circle stonecircle Hospitals Drawing Huge Subsidies from Taxpayers Set Aside Entire Floors for the Wealthy Pension Dialog @PensionDialog Pension Dialog If it ain’t broke, why fix it? That’s what Louisiana State Employees Retirement System says to the governor Barrett and Greene @GreeneBarrett Barrett and Greene  2001-2010 – increase in proportion of U.S. pop. w/ bachelor’s degree or higher grew from 26.2% to 30.4% Citizens Budget Comm @cbcny Citizens Budget Comm New York state had a tax surplus of $800 million at the end of last June; by January, it turned into a $389 million shortfall James D. Robinson @jdrive James D. Robinson Next yr, # of fed-mandated illness categories will soar from 18k to 140k, including 9 categories for injuries caused by parrots -economist

MuniLand Snaps: February 27, 2012

Via the OK Policy blog:

Is Texas beating Oklahoma because it lacks an income tax? That’s been a common argument made by proponents of eliminating Oklahoma’s personal income tax. But a new animated video from OK Policy busts the myths about our rivals to the south.

Good Links

ABC News: Are U.S. infrastructure jobs being shipped to China?

CAP: Meeting the infrastructure imperative

USA Today: U.S. mayors call for more infrastructure to support exports

FT: Bloomberg LP uses 3,000 programmers to simplify its desktop terminal system

Bondsquawk: Needed: A fixed income geek who knows social media

Lumesis: Muniland visualization firm raises Series A funds

Bloomberg: How Morningstar crashed BlackRock’s muniland ETF

SEC: Broker-dealer overseer to collect fee to fund government accounting standard setter

Reuters: Moody’s cuts Stockton, California to below investment grade

The Tennessean: Governor Haslam: “Tennesseans expect us to do more with less”

MuniLand Snaps: February 24, 2012

This Land — a new voice from the middle of America.

Good Links

The Consumerist: 35,000 pink slips are in the mail for USPS employees

Merrill Healthcare Experts: Can we afford to cut Medicaid?

Reuters: U.S. muni bond fund inflows of $883 million in latest week — Lipper

Bloomberg: California does another private loan, this one for $1 billion

Sacramento Bee: Stockton may be first test of California’s new bankruptcy law

Hartford Courant: 3 cities, one well-connected law firm

Pennsylvania Treasury: State revenues are 3.5 percent short of estimate

USA Today: Missouri legislation may require that revenue bonds be insured

Today’s the day Harrisburg: Residents file an emergency order against receiver

MuniLand Snaps: February 23, 2012


David Unkovic, the receiver of bankrupt Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, talks about the current fiscal condition of the city and what his plans are to get it on better footing. Source: Face the State, Channel 2 News

Good Links

Investment U: Forget “laddered” bond portfolios, think “staggered” portfolios

Advisor One: Muni funds record fifth straight month of inflows

Morningstar: “It’s time to part ways with MUB”

NYT: Gretchen Morgenson discovers the MSRB’s EMMA system

Reuters: New Jersey $32 billion budget plan includes no tax hikes

Chicago Tribune: Illinois Governor Quinn asks lawmakers to put some skin in the game

MuniLand Snaps: February 22, 2012

From the Energy Information Administration: Natural gas pipeline capacity additions in 2011. Stateline has a related story asking what record low prices for natural gas mean for states?

Good Links

White House: Economic Report of the President

Minding the Campus: Federal aid and college tuition: Why they seem to rise together

Reuters: Moody’s reviewing thousands of U.S. muni obligations

Moody’s: Moody’s reviews ratings for banks and securities firms with global capital markets operations

MuniLand Snaps: February 21, 2012

Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson on the nation’s fiscal sustainability: “We’re the healthiest horse in the glue factory.” In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters Digital Editor Chrystia Freeland last week, Simpson said the United States is on the same track as Europe’s weakest countries and is destined to experience a full-blown debt crisis. Simpson, known for his blunt talk, has been waving this flag for some time.

Good Links

NYT: Benefits received by all Americans add up to more than the value of taxes paid

Mother Jones: Who actually benefits from federal benefits?

NYT: Job losses in the public sector

Bond Buyer:  Municipal bond issuance declined in every southeastern state in 2011

MuniLand Snaps: February 16, 2012

Texas State Representative Jerry Madden (R) describes how well-structured programs can help break the cycle of prisoner recidivism by improving family self-sufficiency. Some claim that voluntary home visitation programs can also yield long-term savings for taxpayers. Source: Pew Center on the States

Good Links

National Conference of State Legislatures: Overview of the President’s FY 2013 budget

Treasury: General explanations of the administration’s revenue proposals (Green Book)

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