MuniLand

MuniLand Snaps: May 4

WTHR.com investigates an IRS tax loophole that allows illegal immigrants to claim tax credits for their children, who often do not live in the United States.

Good Links

ZeroHedge: The unabridged and illustrated federal budget for dummies

SIFMA: U.S. municipal bond credit report, 2012 Q1

Nickdunbar.net: “Derivative trading books at major banks lurch around like aircraft in a thunderstorm”

Bond Buyer: The drought is over as top hospitals come to market

Bloomberg: Ohio booze bond threatened as lawmakers press suit

Reuters: Alabama Senate passes tax for bankrupt Jefferson County

Detroit News: Detroit pension system fires firm for buying two Starbucks buildings

Reuters: NYC mayor’s $69 billion budget freezes wages

Council of State Governments: 10 captivating capitol buildings

@Twitter Talk

MuniLand Snaps: May 3

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland prepared this simple primer on municipal finances.

Good Links

The Hill: Efforts to suspend and/or remove the congressional sequester begin

GovPro: Texas tops list of states with low per-capita spending

FT Alphaville: Open-source government bond rating tool launched

BlackRock: Increasing appetite for munis

ISS-Mag: DTCC to publish public data on interest-rate derivatives

Huffington Post: Overpaid public workers: Actually, we’re moving toward consensus

LAT: S&P sounds alarm over California’s April tax revenue

Bloomberg: California governor will seek “serious cuts” in state’s budget plan

MuniLand Snaps: May 2

In honor of One World Trade Center becoming the tallest building in New York, EarthCam released a time-lapse movie showing the construction progress from 2004 to 2012.

Good Links

CSG: State and local pension total holdings and investments rebound in 2010

Hannah Arendt Center: Pension crisis primer

ICMA: State and municipal bankruptcy, municipal bonds, and pensions

Pew Charitable Trusts: America’s largest 30 cities compared

Bond Buyer: Data shows changes in municipal bond buying patterns

Reuters: Moody’s downgrades $81 billion in municipal debt in the first quarter

MSRB: MSRB adds yield data on interdealer municipal bond trades to EMMA

Reuters: Startups help pension funds save on foreign currency trades

WSJ: Illinois’s $1.8 billion municipal bond offering draws big interest

Hartford Courant: Tax revenues plunge, state budget deficit balloons

Cal Watchdog: Los Angeles teeters on the brink of bankruptcy

@Twitter Talk

MuniLand Snaps: May 1

Reuters graphic artist Stephen Culp created this excellent map depicting data from the University of Tennessee regarding Amazon’s negotiations with state governments on taxation. Rest assured, every state will eventually collect sales taxes from Amazon.

Good Links

Real Clear Policy: “A Decade Without a Mexican”

WaPo: Threat from mounting public job losses tested Obama’s economic strategy

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Impact of reporting on the interest rate derivatives market

MSRB: Muniland’s overseer holds quarterly meeting

Bond Buyer: MSRB considers reducing 15-minute window for trade reporting

Reuters: New York State tax revenue lags, but four-year gap drops: report

NBC Chicago: Financial journalists skeptical of Chicago Infrastructure Trust

LAT: Los Angeles opens the Expo Line, what now?

Learn Bonds: Alexandra Lebenthal changes her thinking on individual munis

@Twitter Talk Paul GreavesPaul Greaves  @greavespg Can we devote one week to just discussing potential solutions to our fiscal challenges and not reacting to a video or a comment/gaffe?

IpreoMuniIpreoMuni  @IpreoMuni Illinois dominates negotiated & competitive deals double as #’s strengthen. Here is the calendar  http://bit.ly/Jtcfeb #muniland

MuniLand Snaps: April 30

Companies are able to retain state income paid by employees in a number of states, says columnist David Cay Johnston in this episode of Reuters Fast Forward. This money, withheld from employee paychecks as state income tax, is retained by companies through deals with the states. Why is this happening, and who really knows about it?

Good Links

Journal of Accountancy: Tax-advantaged investing for an uncertain economy

Reuters: Economists clash on jobs fracking to bring to New York

New American City: New York turns to wikis to encourage transparency and engagement

NJ.com: N.J. politicians preserve their own retirement packages while limiting new workers’

MuniLand Snaps: April 27


The Tax Foundation brings us the tax inheritance map and notes that: “Estate taxes are levied on the estate itself prior to transfer; inheritance taxes are levied on the transfer of wealth based on the recipient’s relationship to the decedent. New Jersey and Maryland are notable for having both an estate tax and an inheritance tax.”

Good Links

Pew Research: Growing gap in favorable views of federal and state governments

CEPR: To go after public-sector workers, George Will makes it up

SmartMoney: When the municipal bond supply runs dry

Reuters: U.S. muni fund inflows nearly triple, to $459 million

Mergers and Inquisitions: How to break into public finance

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: What is a swap? Maybe (almost) everything?

M Live: From Michigan to Illinois to Ohio, teacher pension problems – and changes

Florida Current: $1.8 billion publicly financed Florida turnpike project coming together

MuniLand Snaps: April 26


A new retail bond trading platform has been launched by tradeMonster. Welcome!

Good Links

Reuters: U.S. Senate passes legislation to strengthen U.S. Postal Service

Reuters: Senator Baucus wants more uniform muni tax breaks

Learn Bonds: Why Obama could be better than Romney for muniland

NYT: Are for-profit debt collectors operating in non-profit hospitals?

CBPP: House bill would cut Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico by about $5.5 billion through 2019

Tax Foundation: Glendale, crushed by costs of hockey team, proposes raising sales tax to highest in nation

Chicago Tribune: Illinois county judge says “Amazon-tax law” unconstitutional

MuniLand Snaps: April 25

Daniel Berger of Thomson Reuters Municipal Market Data sent over this excellent chart showing how yields for 10-year A-rated hospital bonds have narrowed since last October compared with AAA general obligation bonds. Or said more simply: It’s gotten a lot less expensive to issue new bonds for hospitals. That explains why the Bond Buyer reported this today: “At least eight Midwestern health care providers are set to enter the market over the next two weeks, offering more than $1.3 billion of bonds.” Rates go down and issuers come to market. Reuters has a related story that might help explain hospitals hurrying to get new paper into the market.

Good Links

Bloomberg: Cash-rich corporations end lobbying effort for repatriation tax break

Tax Foundation: State tax collections rising in post-recession recovery

JCT: Present law and background information related to state and local government finance

MuniLand Snaps: April 24


Muniland has always been interested in America’s magnificent state capitols. Here is Iowa’s State Capitol in Des Moines.

Good Links

Reuters: U.S. retirement fund to run dry earlier: trustees

Bloomberg: Government one-shots raising taxpayers’ debt costs

Reuters: New York’s Nassau County lease of sewer plant faces hurdles

Columbus Dispatch: New Albany school system does synthetic bond refunding

Chicago Tribune: Legislators join Illinois Governor Quinn to save the state

Bloomberg: Illinois “treads water” as unpaid bills top $9 billion

Detroit News: Detroit mayor’s budget proposal looks to cut 2,500 workers

Muni Nation: Van Eck still positive on municipal bond fundamentals

@Twitter Talk Damian PalettaDamian Paletta ‏ @damianpaletta Social Security trustees – disability fund faces exhaustion in 2016; combined SS fund faces exhaustion in 2033 (sooner than expected) Bernie SandersBernie Sanders  @SenSanders Social Security provides support for 55M people, including 38M retired workers, 6M widows, widowers, orphans, & 11M disabled workers. Suzette HackneySuzette Hackney @suzyscribe Under Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s budget: furlough days would be eliminated, workers would receive a 10% pay cut and no merit/wage increases. Performance PartnersPerformance Partners  @PublicPerform Detroit fire boss: Let some vacant buildings burn  http://bit.ly/K1UrFW Ted NesiTed Nesi  @tednesi Central Falls would have a 33% unemployment rate (!) if labor force participation there matched the rest of RI:   http://bit.ly/IyYHP6 OK Policy OK Policy @OKPolicy “An income-tax cut at the state level will invariably lead to a property tax increase at the county level.”  http://ow.ly/asvcw Citizens Budget CommCitizens Budget Comm  @cbcny CBC launches new online, interactive tool for navigating NYS and NYC budgets:   http://bit.ly/ILysUK James McTagueJames McTague  @Mctaguej SEC charges former CALPERS CEO and his close friend with scheming to defraud an investment firm into paying $20 million in fees

MuniLand Snaps: April 23

The Tax Foundation published this bleak-looking map to show how long taxpayers in each state must work before discharging their local, state and federal tax obligations. Connecticut taxpayers work the latest, until May 5, to pay off the tax collector. New Jersey and New York are tied for second place, working until May 1. Sorry, taxpayers.

Good Links

ECRI: Why our recession call stands

Council of State Governments: State infrastructure banks

Investor.gov: Municipal bonds fact sheet

ZeroHedge: How states can become independent of the federal government

Reuters: Layoffs, freezes, retirements for U.S. public sector

Bond Buyer: Issuers see less shame in default, muniland insiders say

Reuters:  Illinois governor unveils “bold” plan to save pensions

Illinois Governor’s Office: Pensions fact sheet

WSJ: States gobble up federal funds for mine remediation long after need is gone

Reuters: Alabama court says bonds not needed for muni bankruptcies

Bloomberg: Santa Clara bets that taxpayers won’t have to pay for new 49ers stadium

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