MuniLand Snaps: April 20

The Detroit Works Project is a wonderful example of a community working to revitalize itself. Good luck to the Motor City and its citizens.

Good Links

Grattan Institute: Humans are social animals, so cities should be social

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: States are cutting $3 for every $1 of tax increase

NYT: State tax collections finally surpass pre-recession highs

State and Local Government Excellence: State and local government workforce: 2012 trends

Investment News: In an apparent first, a public pension plan files for bankruptcy

Bond Buyer: Muniland insider says Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy becoming more accepted

MuniLand Snaps: April 19

The FBI’s National Law Enforcement Data Exchange brings together data from law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, including incident and case reports, booking and incarceration data, and parole and probation information. They make extensive data available for public use.

Good Links

IFR Asia: Cheiljedang creates the first South Korean muni bond in the U.S.

Bond Buyer: D.C. folks don’t understand munis

Bloomberg: New Jersey voters pass 90 percent of school districts’ budget proposals

Chicago Tribune: Chicago mayor to wait on controversial infrastructure trust vote

MuniLand Snaps: April 18

The Tax Foundation brings us a useful map of state tax collections per capita.

Good Links

Financial News: European privatization of public assets is less successful than you might think.

Gensler on Cities: U.S. airports are fully self-funding.

IFR: South Korean food company issues tax-free U.S. municipal bond.

News Is My Business: Moody’s places $16 billion in Puerto Rico debt under review.

Chicago Sun-Times: How can we “trust” Rahm Emanuel’s infrastructure plan?

MuniLand Snaps: April 17


The newsroom of the Philadelphia Inquirer erupts as the news breaks that the paper has won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism, the highest honor in U.S. journalism. They won for their “Assault on Learning” series. The seven-part series revealed that violence in city schools was widespread and underreported, with 30,000 serious incidents over the last five school years. Those findings were later corroborated by a Philadelphia School District blue-ribbon panel on safety, spurred an overhaul of incident reporting in the district, and prompted the hiring of a state-funded safe-schools advocate.

Cheers to the Philadelphia Inquirer and all other finalists!

Good Links

The Economist: Bankers and the public sector may both be enemies of growth

Philly Fed: Rebuilding older communities conference

Reuters: Sales taxes up in most U.S. states in March: survey

Reuters: Big Tobacco pays states $6.5 billion, unchanged from 2011

Investment News: The road is a little rockier for muniland

MAGNY: Member Presentations: Default and bankruptcy

Gaetan Lion: What happened in muniland since Meredith Whitney’s December 2010 report?

Seeking Alpha: Touring the muni bond ETF universe
@Twitter Talk

LucyLucy  @lizzie363 Grover Norquist is part of the problem. Effective corporate tax rates in US for 2011 was 12.1% lowest since 1972. 1/2 Rate of 1987-2008.
Jen DePaulJen DePaul  @BondBuyerJen From Stateline: Few states study the impact of costly tax breaks

MuniLand Snaps: April 16

Seattle is starting construction on the First Hill Streetcar this month with plans to begin operation in early 2014. Hat tip: Seattle Bike Blog.

Good Links

Reuters: Tax collection up in all 50 states in 2011: Census

Barrons: Only 34 percent of municipal bond issuance is “new money;” the majority is refunding old bonds

Reuters:  U.S. muni funds report first outflows in four months

AP: South Dakota judge upholds cut in annual pension increases

NYT: Editorial accuses New Jersey governor of “political bluster” on train tunnel

MuniLand Snaps: April 12

Reuters’ David Cay Johnston has a stunning story about the 16 states that allow 2,700 companies to withhold state income taxes from their employees and pocket the money instead of turning it over to the state treasuries. His story helps explain the low level of corporate tax collections by states. A must-read for muniland.

Good Links

Pension Corporation: The real value of a defined-benefit pension

FT: Many states face legal challenges over pension plans

Pittsburgh Tribune: Monroeville, PA is rushing to create a finance authority Boston mayor’s budget would add a small number of employees

WSJ: Big banks would be bypassed with BlackRock bond platform

Bond Buyer: Ebb and flow of muni mutual funds has an outsize impact on the market

Learn Bonds: Useful list of retail offering periods

Bloomberg: Jefferson County, creditors open fight on size of bond payments

@Twitter Talk CA State ControllerCA State Controller  @CAController April personal income tax receipts top $1 billion – Get the latest info from CA Controller‘s tax tracker The Civic FederationThe Civic Federation @CivicFederation In the news at @CBSNews on “New Website Could Help Pressure Lawmakers, Employees To Fix Pensions” PLANSPONSORPLANSPONSOR  @PLANSPONSOR Virginia Governor Signs Pension Reform Legislation: MSRBMSRB  @MSRB_News MSRB Reminds Dealers of Limits on Redactions of Liquidity Facility Documents for Variable Rate Securities Daniel BergerDaniel Berger  @munimarketmaven Detroit W&S downgraded by Moody’s (from the A2 range to Baa2) last night. Blocks of 5.25s of 41 traded 20bps cheaper today from last Wed. Birmingham_NewsBirmingham News @Birmingham_News Former receiver John S. Young says sewer system can afford $110 million a year for debt repayment: Young says sy… Barnett WrightBarnett Wright  @BarnettWright Jefferson County’s cash-strapped Cooper Green Mercy Hospital has placed 89 employees on administrative leave without pay to save $3M

MuniLand Snaps: April 11

After being briefed on the Chicago mayor’s infrastructure trust proposal, some aldermen say they have more questions than answers. WTTW of Chicago got the reaction of those responsible for approving the trust that will privatize many of Chicago’s public assets. Here is the proposed Infrastructure Trust Ordinance from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

Good Links

Birmingham News: Jefferson County creditors gain approval to challenge bankruptcy eligibility issue

Birmingham News: Jefferson County maxes out bank-issued credit card, must pay cash

MuniLand Snaps: April 10

Data from the CDC: Teen birth rates in 2009 by state per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years. Teen birth rates were lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest and highest across the South and Southwest. On first glance it seems that politically conservative states have higher teen birth rates. Hat tip: Richard Florida.

Good Links

Muni Nation: A high-level view of muniland’s credit quality

WSJ: No transparency: Some muni issuers saw their CDS widen 25-40 basis points on big bang

Patriot News: Harrisburg’s sad saga is about to take another turn

Moody’s: Rating agency downgrades Detroit sewer and water bonds

Bond Buyer:  Three muni executives are set to face bid-rigging trial in New York City

MuniLand Snaps: April 9

In honor of next Tuesday’s deadline to file your taxes with the IRS, check out this excellent map from the Tax Foundation.

Good Links

Reuters: Kroll Bond Ratings enters muniland with its first municipal bond rating

Tax Policy Center: Should municipal bonds be used to finance demolishing buildings?

MuniLand Snaps: April 5

As you watch this video of Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson trying to justify why she is suing City Controller Dan Miller over a relatively minor issue, you can understand the high level of political dysfunction in the busted capital of Pennsylvania.

Good Links

State Impact:  A new interactive look at the Texas drought

Atlantic Cities: The real boundaries of the Bible Belt

Fitch Ratings: Playback: Fitch discusses wide pension burdens of U.S. states

MSRB: Muniland overseer encourages voluntary disclosure of bank loans by governments

Bond Buyer: Bank of America Merrill is top muniland underwriter

Learn Bonds: How to tell if a municipal bond is tax-free?

Detroit News: City and state approve Detroit consent deal

Reuters: Detroit avoids state takeover, more oversight looms

Chicago Tribune: Former chief of staff to Illinois governor tapped to lead budget office

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