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    Entries in bonds (14)

    Friday
    Dec162016

    The Week in Public Finance: What the Rate Hike Means, a Legal Win for Online Sales Taxes and More

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  DECEMBER 16, 2016

    Movin' On Up

    The Federal Reserve announced a short-term interest rate hike on Wednesday, the first one in a year and a move that was largely expected. But what wasn’t on the radar was the Fed's announcement that it plans to raise rates three more times in 2017, up from previous expectations of two rate hikes.

    Given the reticence to move rates for most of the last decade, the faster pace for next year has municipal analyst Chris Mauro calling the decision a “rather splashy hawkish surprise.”

    The rate hike will move the target interest rate on short-term debt up one-quarter of a percent -- to a range of 0.5 to 0.75 percent. The Fed's previous rate hike was a year ago, and that was the first one in nine years.

    The Takeaway: The Fed's plan to raise rates signals that economic growth is accelerating.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Dec152016

    Startups Seek to Democratize the Muni Market

    They're bringing in new investors, big and small, to disperse the power and lower interest rates. It's already paying off for some governments.
    BY  DECEMBER 15, 2016

    For all the post-recession financial market reforms, few ultimately made their way to the municipal bond market. For the most part, the muni market remains a low-tech place by Wall Street standards, and one that's still largely controlled by the same group of big investors.

    "The muni market has a lot to do with relationships, power and influence," said Rob Novembre, a former trader who has spearheaded a new alternative bond trading system. "The bigger you are as an account, the more attention you get from sellers. If you buy bigger blocks [of bonds], that gets you more power."

    Thanks to Novembre's new startup and another in San Francisco, though, that's starting to change. The two companies are not only set to give the market a tech update but also to bring it more buyers. The idea is that more buyers will increase demand for municipal bonds and, in turn, will net governments lower interest rates on their debt.

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Dec092016

    The Week in Public Finance: Federal Budget Chaos, a Bankruptcy Win and Pension Portfolios

    BY  DECEMBER 9, 2016
    Chaos on Capitol Hill ... and in Statehouses

    As state lawmakers begin preparing for their fiscal 2018 budgets, their biggest challenge is in the unknown. With Donald Trump’s election, the future for key state and local funding is almost anybody’s guess.

    With Trump in the White House next year, Stan Collender, author of The Guide to The Federal Budget, predicts that a Republican-controlled Congress will move quickly on making major changes before the 2018 midterm elections. But after this unpredictable election, few are willing to predict what exactly those changes will be. All we know now is what’s on the table.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Nov102016

    This Government Bond Insures Against Failure

    The first-ever environmental impact bond gives an agency some of its money back if its idea doesn't pan out.
    BY  NOVEMBER 10, 2016

    As the drive for accountability in government spending increases, many are looking for ways to keep from paying the full price for programs that don't work.

    In Washington, D.C., that desire has led to the first-ever environmental impact bond, issued this fall by DC Water, the city's water and sewer authority. The $25 million bond will pay for new, green infrastructure like rain gardens and permeable pavement to reduce stormwater runoff.

    But if the projects don't work as expected, that's where the new financing structure comes in. Under the terms of the bond, which DC Water sold directly to Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group and the nonprofit Calvert Foundation, the utility stands to get a multimillion discount on its total borrowing costs if the project doesn't meet a certain threshold.

    It's essentially an insurance policy on the project's effectiveness. Here's how it works: After five years, the new infrastructure will be evaluated. If stormwater runoff isn't reduced by at least 18.6 percent, investors will owe DC Water a $3.3 million "risk share" payment. The payment represents a near-full refund of the 3.43 percent interest rate payments DC Water made during the first five years of the bond. After that, the bonds would likely be refinanced into 25-year bonds. DC Water would also drop green infrastructure projects and go back to so-called gray ones (like pumps and water tunnels) to reduce runoff.

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Nov092016

    Arkansas, California Voters Approve Spending on Mega Projects

    In an anti-debt climate, voters in the two states cleared the way for spending on major economic development projects.
    BY  NOVEMBER 9, 2016

    In the post-recession era, "debt" is a four-letter word. State debt levels as a whole have been stagnant in recent years and, in 2014, actually recorded the first decline in the 28 years Moody's Investors Service has been tracking them.

    It's in this climate that voters in Arkansas and California have cleared the way for more spending on mega projects that could be economic development boons in those states.

    In Arkansas, voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative that eliminates the state's current 5 percent cap on debt related to economic development projects. Proponents of Arkansas’ Issue 3, who included Gov. Asa Hutchinson, want the cap lifted so the state can be more competitive in attracting new corporations by helping fund mega projects. Voters easily approved the measure, 65-35.

    In California, which has one of the highest taxpayer debt burdens in the country, the results were much closer. Voters narrowly rejected a proposal, 51-49, that could have derailed two of Gov. Jerry Brown's legacy projects. Prop. 53 would have limited the state's ability to issue debt for major projects by requiring voter approval to issue more than $2 billion in revenue bonds.

    Click to read more ...