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    Entries in debt (5)

    Friday
    Jan132017

    The Week in Public Finance: Trump's Infrastructure Plan, Risky Pensions and NYC's Surprising Fiscal Health

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  JANUARY 13, 2017

    How Will Trump's Infrastructure Plan Affect the Economy?

    Economic impact estimates are all over the map when it comes to how much of an affect President-elect Donald Trump’s 10-year $1 trillion infrastructure proposal will have on the economy. To that end, two reports came out this week that come to completely different conclusions.

    The first, by Georgetown University, says that Trump's plan could create as many as 11 million jobs. However, it cautions, the additional spending in combination with proposed tax cuts and other economic policy shifts could “overheat the economy” by increasing inflation and setting the stage for further interest rate hikes.

    The Tax Foundation had a much more modest take. This is partly because the report assessed the varying degrees of economic impact the proposal would have depending on what other policy measures are implemented. The foundation looked at the impact of a theoretical $500 billion investment by the federal government through five funding mechanisms: borrowing, cutting government spending, raising excise taxes, raising the top tax rate on individual income and raising the corporate income tax.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Monday
    Oct312016

    To Limit Debt or Make It Limitless? 2 States’ Voters Will Decide.

    In an anti-debt climate, one state aims to rein it in while another tries to uncap it.
    BY  OCTOBER 27, 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 two states are considering nearly opposite proposals on debt.

    California, which has one of the highest taxpayer debt burdens in the country, will decide whether to limit lawmakers’ ability to issue debt for major projects. Prop. 53 would require voter approval to issue more than $2 billion in revenue bonds.

    In Arkansas, a ballot initiative proposes making it easier for the state to incur more debt. Issue 3 would eliminate the state's current 5 percent cap on debt related to economic development projects.

    Each state's history with bond debt has a lot to do with these conflicting proposals

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    Friday
    Mar252016

    Chicago’s Shockingly Bad Finances

    You’ve probably read about the Windy City’s money problems. But chances are they're worse than you thought, and a recent ruling didn't help.
    BY  MARCH 25, 2016

    You’ve probably read headlines about the Windy City’s financial woes. About how Chicago’s years of borrowing to pay for its operations has finally caught up to it. About how inadequate funding of its pensions has saddled it with huge annual payments.

    But unless you’ve been paying close attention, chances are Chicago is worse off than you think.

    The numbers are staggering. The city has about $34 billion in outstanding debt, with roughly $20 billion of that coming from its five pension plans. That’s compared with a little more than $9 billion total annual budget. The teachers’ retirement fund is short about $9.6 billion and owes an additional $6 billion to bondholders. The outstanding bonds alone exceed the system’s annual $5.8 billion budget. Overall, Chicago Public Schools has struggled to sell enough bond debt to get through the current year, and the system is even facing a possible state takeover. Both the city and the school system’s credit ratings have been downgraded to junk status.

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