Let Europe kill municipal CDS

By Cate Long
October 31, 2011

The solution to Greece’s debt crisis that Europe’s leaders announced on Thursday has market participants and commentators howling. It includes a provision that changes long-established rules for credit-default swaps mid-game. Mike Dolan, Reuters’ Investment Strategy Editor in Europe, said this:

State taxes on fire

By Cate Long
October 27, 2011

State tax collections are hot, hot, hot. The taxman rustled up 16 percent more in state income taxes for the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. Where is this phenomenal growth coming from?

Vermont rebuilds while Congress fights

By Cate Long
September 21, 2011

The state of Vermont is struggling to gather funds to repair the flood damage from Hurricane Irene, the state’s worst natural disaster since the floods of 1927. Generally the state would rely on support from the federal government to replace and repair this infrastructure, but the U.S. Congress is locked in a fight over funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of a larger fiscal battle that could shut down the federal government. From CBS News:

Irene damage estimated at 0.214% of GDP

By Cate Long
August 29, 2011

Irene has come and gone. She was a big girl but fortunately she didn’t cost a lot in terms of economic damages. The biggest toll was the 25 lives she claimed. I mourn those deaths and know their loss is incalculable to their families.

We have everything we need to battle Irene

By Cate Long
August 26, 2011


Hurricane Irene, an enormous storm of unimaginable power, is bearing down on the east coast. Although there could be loss of life and substantial property devastation, America has more than enough resources to meet her and survive mostly intact. Unlike third-world countries we have the people, equipment and money in reserve to clean up. But it maybe the human locusts that follow in her wake that are hardest to battle against.

Relying on the rich uncle

By Cate Long
July 6, 2011

State and local governments earn their “wages” primarily by collecting taxes, although states get significant “flow-throughs” from the federal government for Medicaid and other social entitlements. Every state varies in where they draw tax revenues from. For example, states that are highly dependent on tourism will see substantial revenues from hotel and sales taxes.

Muni sweeps: Important deals for CA and NJ

By Cate Long
June 16, 2011

New Jersey municipal employees to pay more for benefits

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the state Democratic leadership have reached agreement on reducing employee benefits:

Something smells funny around Yankee Stadium

By Cate Long
June 13, 2011

Bloomberg covered an interesting story today about the bonds which financed the parking garages at Yankee Stadium in New York. The $237 million of securities are “revenue” bonds issued by the Empire State Development Corporation. They have no guarantee and no rating, and it looks likely that the bonds will default.

Muni sweeps: Taxes are the fuel for public sphere

By Cate Long
June 13, 2011

Taxes are the fuel for the government. Without taxation the state withers. Our governments have taken on so many responsibilities but have become starved for fuel. There is much debate on how much we as a country should spend on entitlements and defense, but often these arguments are made on the premise that the United States has higher taxes than other nations.

Muni sweeps: New growth or decay?

By Cate Long
May 19, 2011


The New York Times food writer, Mark Bittman, has written the loveliest piece about his visit to our nation’s most devastated urban area, Detroit. He says there are little seeds of hope and change growing there: