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    Entries in Connecticut (5)

    Friday
    Jan272017

    The Week in Public Finance: What We Don't Know About Sanctuary Cities' Funding, New Reasons to Save and More

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.

    BY  JANUARY 27, 2017

    What We Don't Know About Trump's 'Sanctuary City' Order

    On Wednesday, President Donald Trump took his first move to defund cities that refuse to cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. Trump signed an executive order directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to look at federal grant funding to cities “to figure out how we can defund those streams,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

    Many of the nation’s largest cities -- including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco -- are immigrant sanctuaries and have said they won’t back down from their policy.

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Jan202017

    The Week in Public Finance: Hartford in Crisis, Pension Rates Move Down and More

    Bad News for Hartford, Conn.

    A report from the Yankee Institute this week warned Connecticut’s capital is careening toward insolvency. “Hartford will likely face bankruptcy unless the state intervenes in the coming months,” wrote Stephen Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who authored the report.

    Connecticut has repeatedly struggled with slow growth and state budget deficits, but that economic imbalance is even more exaggerated with its urban centers. The report warns that Bridgeport, Waterbury and New Haven also have declining tax bases and rising pension obligations -- just not to the extent that Hartford does.

    More than one-third of Hartford residents live in poverty, the highest rate in the nation in cities larger than 100,000. What's more, the city has increased its debt and structural budget deficit to stay afloat. Between 2016 and 2018, Hartford’s debt service expenses are projected to increase from $23 million to $45 million, and then reach $60 million in fiscal 2021.

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Dec022016

    The Week in Public Finance: A Run on Pensions in Dallas, Connecticut's Warning and a Threat to Muni Bonds

    BY  DECEMBER 2, 2016

    Dallas' Pension Problem

    Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is calling on pension officials this week to halt what is amounting to a bank run on the fire and police pension fund. The run, which Rawlings testified has totaled $500 million withdrawn in 2016, is spurred in part by concerns the pension plan’s value is being inflated. Roughly half of the withdrawals have come in a recent six-week span.

    Rawlings has asked that pension fund officials suspend so-called DROP payments, which are retirees’ own savings invested in the fund and are separate from their fund-administered pension payments.

    For their part, pension fund officials blame the mayor for the run in the first place. Pension Board Chairman Sam Friar noted that Rawlings and other city leaders had refused the fund’s earlier requests to make public statements designed to boost confidence in the fund. “Had they done that, most of this money would not be gone. Simple, simple solution," Friar told the local television station KXAS. “But they refused to do that.”

    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Aug122016

    The Week in Public Finance: Why Some Pensions Are Falling Behind, Stress Testing States and More

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  AUGUST 12, 2016

    Pollyannaish About Pension Returns

    Houston is fighting a losing battle with its pension system: The unfunded liability between Houston’s three plans totals at least $3.9 billion, up from $212 million in 1992. Meanwhile, pension costs as a percentage of the city’s revenue have doubled since 2000 and were one of the reasons behind a recent credit rating downgrade.

    new report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute identifies two main culprits for the funding crisis: Even though the city is now paying its full pension bill, it’s still not enough to chip away at the unfunded liability, and the three plans have assumed investment returns of between 8 and 8.5 percent -- that's higher than the national average and even higher than their own recent experience.

    The report's authors looked at examples of pension changes in other major cities and highlighted potential solutions, including raising the cap on the city’s revenues so it can generate more money for pensions; increasing employee contributions; and reducing cost-of-living payments to retirees. “All of these options would generate different amounts of funding in different time frames,” the report said. "[But] none would likely solve the problem alone.”

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    Friday
    Mar112016

    The Week in Public Finance: Pension Buyouts, a New Way to Pay for Family Leave and More

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  MARCH 11, 2016

    San Jose’s Never-Ending Pension Battle

    A former San Jose, Calif., councilman who was instrumental in convincing voters to approve pension changes in that city four years ago is now filing papers in court to protect his legislation.

    Pete Constant, who's now a senior fellow with the libertarian-leaning Reason Foundation, is challenging San Jose officials’ request pending before a judge to strike down Measure B. City officials are now in talks with unions to abandon it in favor of other changes they're negotiating that wouldn't require voter approval.

    By doing so, Constant said in a press release Wednesday, the city will “abandon its obligation to defend Measure B and is poised to sell-out the voters.”

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