MuniLand Snaps: June 26

Many local governments thrived on the increased revenues from property taxes on new homes through 2007. It’s been downhill ever since, creating a real drag on local budgets.

Good Links

Bloomberg: States lacking income tax get no boost in growth

WSJ: State and local fiscal burdens drag on economic recovery

Reuters: New rules may make public pensions appear weaker

Bloomberg: Public pensions face wider deficits under new rules

Bond Buyer: SEC approves new rules for muni-bond broker’s broker

Bond Buyer: Despite fears, many muni credits are stable to better

NYT: “Double-barreled” bonds

Post Standard: Mayor talks nonprofit Syracuse University into making payments for city services

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MuniLand Snaps: June 25

Good Links

Reuters: Public pensions to give “clearer picture” of finances

Reuters: Moody’s downgrades $64 billion of U.S. muni debt

Reuters: U.S. high-yield muni buyers lose safeguards

AP: Auditor: Total Illinois deficit nears $44 billion

Illinois Policy Institute: $203 billion and counting: Total debt for state and local retirement benefits in Illinois

The Republic: Glendale, Arizona considers pledging city hall and police station as collateral for sports-related debt

MuniLand Snaps: June 22

City Controller Alan Butkovitz released an audit of Philadelphia’s Video Surveillance program that found the city spent $13.9 million for surveillance cameras but that only 102 of the 216 installed cameras were functioning properly. This has resulted in a cost to the city of $136,000 per operating camera. ”The cost is exceedingly alarming, and outright excessive – especially when $13.9 million is equivalent to the cost of putting 200 new police recruits on our streets,” said Butkovitz.

Good Links

USA Today: State, local spending remains at a restrained level

WSJ: Food-stamp fiasco

Rolling Stone: The scam Wall Street learned from the mafia

Bond Buyer: Variable and auction-rate securities dwindle

Bloomberg: Impoverished city learns about the risks of subsidizing soccer Long: Woonsocket “is in a death spiral” that’s not ALEC’s fault

Reuters: Grim prospects for Stockton, California as bankruptcy looms

Bloomberg: Stockton slide to bankruptcy measured in more funerals

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MuniLand Snaps: June 20

WPRI reports on Providence retirees voting on pension reform. The fiscally challenged city, like many across America, is trying to reduce expenses, including pensions and retiree benefits. Providence has been making good progress.

Good Links

Public CIO: Federal crowdsourcing may solve problems fast

MSRB: Report on municipal variable-rate securities

NYT: New Jersey’s halfway-house prison complexes

Bond Buyer: Scranton’s charged atmosphere stymies attempts to stay solvent

Bloomberg: Public-sector workers digging in to save pensions under assault

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MuniLand Snaps: June 19

Without comment: The Great State Fight

Good Links

Reuters: Swing states in muniland

Pensions and Investments: Pew Center: State pension funding gap widens

Pew Charitable Trust: States are $1.38 trillion short in funding retirement systems

Bloomberg: Pension reforms have their day in court

Reuters: Mayors back parents seizing control of schools

Bloomberg: Municipal regulators crack down on disclosure enforcement

Salon: Tactical urbanism, the “low-cost, low-commitment, incremental approach to city building”

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MuniLand Snaps: June 18

BlackRock says that the housing market, the bedrock of property taxes that support local governments, remains weak:

The housing market overall continues to remain challenged by various factors. A large overhang of “shadow” inventory remains and the mix of home sales to date has been heavily skewed toward distressed purchases.

Good Links

Bloomberg: Payrolls climb in 27 U.S. states, led by California and Ohio

Reuters: Illinois governor signs bills to save Medicaid “from collapse”

MuniLand Snaps: June 15

A state pension actuary gets the Xtranormal treatment. Hat tip: Bob Nelson of Thomson Reuters MMD.

Good Links

Council of State Governments: The evolution of interstate compacts

NYT: The little-known but massive infrastructure investment in U.S. airports

WSJ: Moody’s lowers $11 billion in California redevelopment bonds to junk

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder: Why we need a new bridge between Detroit and Canada now

Fortune: Four lessons from Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios fiasco

Learn Bonds: Three overleveraged New Jersey towns could be the next Jefferson County

MuniLand Snaps: June 14

The Tax Foundation gives us a map of state wine taxes. In the number one spot is Alaska, which levies a tax of $2.50 per gallon; Louisiana levies the smallest excise tax at 11 cents per gallon.

Good Links

Thomson Reuters News & Insight: Is the momentum against public unions gaining speed?

The Council of State Governments: Updated database on child abuse and neglect statistics

MuniLand Snaps: June 13

A different take on Philadelphia’s school reform efforts from Truth-Out.

Good Links

The Star Ledger: Telling the truth on taxes

Philadelphia Inquirer: How a professional soccer stadium did nothing for a broken-down city

Fox News: $596 million Detroit Water and Sewer municipal deal postponed

RBC Capital Markets: What do municipal bond market participants think about the market?

American Banker: Credit default swaps: Market or mud pit?

Dow Jones: Goldman Sachs’s municipal trading head jumps to private-equity firm

MuniLand Snaps: June 12

From View From the Metropole: An interview with Marc Joffe from Public Sector Credit Solutions and his non-profit, open-source credit-rating system.

Good Links

Bloomberg: Fed says U.S. wealth fell 38 percent in 2007-2010 on housing

Federal Reserve: Changes in U.S. family finances from 2007 to 2010

Reuters: Revenues recover, but states still tight-fisted

Rand Corporation: Getting over the privacy hurdle to mileage-based road fees

NYT: Bankers embedded interest-rate swaps in many long-term municipal bonds

Mintz Levin: First bankruptcy filed by a public pension fund

NPR: Judge says pension fund can’t seek bankruptcy protection

Innovation Trail: Map: New York paid developers $1 billion to improve these brownfields

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