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    Entries in Kansas (5)


    The Week in Public Finance: Kansas' Experiment Ends, Alaska Still Has No Budget and Keeping Track of Debt

    BY  JUNE 9, 2017

    Kansas is rolling back its controversial 2012 income tax cuts after the Republican-controlled legislature this week succeeded in overriding a veto by GOP Gov. Sam Brownback.

    The state is facing a $900 million budget shortfall and has struggled under budget deficits since the tax cuts went into effect. With the new legislation, the state’s income taxes will increase, although most tax rates will still be lower than they were before the 2012 cuts. The increases are expected to generate more than $1.2 billion for the state over the next two years. Opponents of the action call it a $1.2 billion take hike on Kansans.

    On Thursday, the ratings agency Moody's Investors Service applauded the legislature's move, calling it "a significant step" toward achieving a sustainable budget.The action comes four months after lawmakers failed to override another Brownback veto preserving a tax loophole that lets scores of business owners pay no income tax.

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    The Week in Public Finance: Pensions Protest Bathroom Bills, a Billion-Dollar Showdown in Kansas and More

    BY  FEBRUARY 24, 2017

    Pension Funds Mess With Texas

    The country’s largest public pension systems and investors are pressuring Texas officials not to approve a so-called bathroom bill introduced in January. The legislation targets transgender individuals by requiring them to use the public restroom that aligns with the gender on their birth certificate.

    Pointing to North Carolina, which lost hundreds of millions in business from canceled sporting events, concerts and conventions after its bathroom bill became law last year, the group warned in a letter that Texas could meet the same fate. Already, the National Football League and the NCAA have said that the siting of future events in Texas would be jeopardized if lawmakers move forward.

    The more than 30 signatories on the letter include comptrollers, controllers and treasurers of California, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as major firms such as BlackRock and T. Rowe Price. Collectively, the group represents more than $11 trillion in assets.

    The Takeaway: Threats like these aren't new. Called social divesting, stewards of major pensions have increasingly urged corporate boards in recent years to make policy changes, such as pressuring energy companies to move away from fossil fuels.

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    The Week in Public Finance: Wells Fargo's Punishment, a Surprising Study and Kansas' Forecasting Blues

    BY  OCTOBER 7, 2016

    Governments Punish Wells Fargo

    Some governments are temporarily cutting ties with Wells Fargo thanks to a scandal involving thousands of unauthorized accounts.

    This week, Illinois and the city of Chicago announced they're joining California and suspending their relationship with the bank for at least one year. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, Oregon and the city of New York are reviewing their business ties with the firm.

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    The Fight for Jobs Intensifies Between Kansas and Missouri

    Nowhere are tax incentives more complicated -- and some say pointless -- than in Kansas City.
    BY  MAY 12, 2016

    In major metropolitan areas, using tax incentives to lure businesses from one part of the region to another can sometimes seem like a big family fight. In the Washington, D.C., area, for instance, several jurisdictions are vying to become the new headquarters of the FBI, which is currently located in the district. If the FBI moves outside of D.C., Maryland or Virginia can claim "new" jobs. But the net gain to the metro area is negligible, save the temporary work created by new construction.

    In nowhere does this chess match seem more futile than in Kansas City, which sits in both Kansas and Missouri. The two states have long competed with each other to woo businesses across the state line. AMC Theaters, Applebee's and JP Morgan Retirement are just a few businesses that have crossed the border in recent times. So much money is involved that the tax incentives battle has been dubbed the Kansas City Border War.

    But recently there's been a concerted effort to call a cease fire. In 2014, the Missouri General Assembly passed a bill that effectively ended the state's tax incentive program in Kansas City after a group of 17 businesses in the two-state region lobbied both governors for it. For the law to go into effect, though, Kansas has to approve a similar bill. The state has until Aug. 28 to do so; otherwise, the "deal" is dead.

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    The Week in Public Finance: Broke Puerto Rico, Slow Financial Disclosures and Trouble in Kansas

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  APRIL 29, 2016

    Broke in Puerto Rico

    Congress stalled this week on legislation that could help Puerto Rico restructure its debts. That leaves the financially strapped U.S. territory continuing to try and piece together agreements with its creditors.

    The commonwealth’s next debt payment, which is nearly a half-billion dollars in securities, is due Monday, and it's expected to default. There are reports that Puerto Rico’s main financing arm is negotiating a deal with creditors to pay slightly less than half of what is owed. But even so, credit rating agencies still view such negotiated cuts as a default on debt.

    Puerto Rico, however, won't get out of its jam with a series of deals. In total, the territory owes about $70 billion in debt that it can’t pay.

    Congress is considering installing a federal oversight board, among other financial reforms, but lawmakers this week said they don’t expect to move on that legislation until July. Absent a federal oversight board, Puerto Rico is vulnerable to lawsuits from creditors. If that happens, that would likely drag down any restructuring process even further, according to an analysis this week by Moody’s Investors Service.

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