MuniLand Snaps: July 27

Marquette Associates has a very interesting chart of the week showing how state and local government budget cuts are a drag on GDP.

Good Links

Al Jazeera: Interactive: U.S., Yemen lead the world in guns

U.S. Census: Statistics about Americans with disabilities

S&P: Video: Reform efforts could shape U.S. pension funded ratios

Huffington Post: Five truths about public employee pensions

Bloomberg: New York is set to overtake California, which has reigned as biggest borrower for two decades

Oakland Tribune: California attempts to square up its special funds accounting

Reuters: Miami weighs “financial urgency” to cut staff costs

Times Tribune: Scranton council to work weekend with mayor, if necessary, over recovery plan

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MuniLand Snaps: July 26

Watch the latest video at

Peter Hayes of BlackRock gives a good overview of the current state of muniland (Hattip Learnbonds).

Good Links

NASBO: Pension accounting reforms regarding the use of discount rates

BlackRock: $55 billion – amount closed in budget gaps by 31 states for FY 2013

Manhattan Institute Public-sector unions’ money machine

LAT: Bankrupt cities? Don’t blame unions

Reuters: Economy, budget woes threaten non-profit hospitals – Moody’s

MTA: Budget remains balanced, but long-term challenges persist

City of Harrisburg: City completes and releases 2009 audit of city finances

Times-Tribune: Scranton Composite Pension Board tables city request for $16 million loan

MuniLand Snaps: July 25

Yesterday Detroit celebrated its 311th birthday. Cheers to the city. We’re hoping for a transformation, too.

Good Links

Harpers: The price of gun control

Council of State Govts: The Book of the States 2012

Federal Transit Administration: Database of federal grants for transit asset management projects

MuniLand Snaps: July 24

An interesting, on-the-ground look at the bankrupt city of Vallejo, California (via the Huffington Post).

Good Links

WSJ: U.S. cities with bigger economies than entire countries

Reuters: Public pension funds to face calls to set realistic targets

Council of State Govts: State pension systems on the rebound

Reuters: New bond insurer endorsed by National League of Cities

Reuters: Residents seek dissolution of a New York tax district

Reuters: Stockton made scant headway in U.S. pre-bankruptcy talks

Self-Evident: Some perspective on the recent California bankruptcies

Go Lackawanna: New union contracts introduced in Scranton

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MuniLand Snaps: July 23

Watch States Plagued by Fiscal Problems, Pension Payments on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Here’s a deep dive on the fiscal problems of the states and the Volcker-Ravitch report on the state budget crisis from PBS.

Good Links

Stateline: Report: Without major overhauls, state budget crises will linger

Pew Center on the States: Data visualization on the widening gap of pension funding

MuniLand Snaps: July 20

San Bernardino, California voted to declare fiscal emergency and move to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy on Wednesday.

Good Links

Reuters: Kansas Republicans war over “Ryan plan”-style tax cuts

Reuters: Washington state first to launch Facebook voter registration

Detroit News: Bing imposes cuts to Detroit union pay and benefits after Council rejection

MuniLand Snaps: July 18

Interesting map from the Tax Foundation on state income tax brackets.

Good Links

Hamilton Place: A Storify of Ben Bernanke’s testimony yesterday

Davis Polk: Dodd-Frank Two-Year Anniversary Progress Report

State Budget Crisis Task Force: Report on the state budget crisis

Bond Buyer: MSRB’s Polsky, but no SEC official, to testify at House panel muni hearing

Bloomberg: Detroit’s core thrives as criminals prey on neighborhoods away from downtown

Reuters: Officials say City of Compton may declare bankruptcy by September

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MuniLand Snaps: July 17

Daniel Solender of Lord Abbott gives a good overview of the municipal bond market.

Good Links

Rockefeller Institute: The impact of the Great Recession on local property taxes

GFOA: Recovery from financial distress and fiscal first aid

Pew Center on the States: City vs. metro population growth visualized

USA Today: Where the states stand on healthcare

Reuters: Medicaid decision pits governor against governor

The Guardian: Scranton, Pennsylvania: Where even the mayor is on minimum wage

California Treasurer: Comparison of other states’ general obligation bond ratings

MuniLand Snaps: July 16

Public service announcement from the New York City Department of Transportation: Come take part in the fifth annual Summer Streets! On Aug. 4, 11 and 18 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., nearly seven miles of New York City’s streets will be opened up for everyone to play, run, walk and bike.

Good Links

IMF: Great Recession and fiscal squeeze at U.S. subnational government level

NYT: Calculated deal in a rate-rigging inquiry

Bloomberg: U.S. municipal bond trading volume falls by 10.4 percent in first half

Houston Chronicle: Local agencies in Texas could “deal directly with the feds to expand Medicaid”

MuniLand Snaps: July 13

I’m on the radio! Thanks to Pat Morrison of Southern California Public Radio KPCC for inviting me to a roundtable on how the San Bernardino bankruptcy is looking much worse than Stockton’s.

Good Links

Business Insider: 32 reasons why we need to end the war on drugs

WaPo: Medicaid expansion a tough sell to governors of both parties

Reuters: Most U.S. muni tobacco bonds will default – Moody’s

Pew Pennsylvania struggles to help its weakest cities

CSM: Cities going broke: Can Scranton’s minimum wage plan work?

Reuters: U.S. 30-year municipal bond yield falls to record low – MMD

WSJ: Quirks of bond indexing

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