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    Entries in recession (11)

    Tuesday
    Dec132016

    Budget Shortfalls Expected in the Most States Since Recession

    Almost half the states cut their budgets this year, and that trend is likely to continue into 2017.
    BY  DECEMBER 13, 2016

    Weak revenues are causing the most state budget shortfalls since the Great Recession.

    According to the National Association of State Budget Officers’ (NASBO) annual state spending survey, half of all states saw revenues come in lower than budgeted in fiscal 2016 and nearly as many (24) are seeing those weak revenue conditions carry into fiscal 2017, which ends in summer 2017 for most states. It marks the highest number of states falling short since 36 budgets missed their mark in 2010.

    As a result, 19 states made mid-year budget cuts in 2016, totaling $2.8 billion. That number of states “is historically high outside of a recessionary period,” according to the report.

    The revenue slowdown is caused mainly by slow income tax growth, even slower sales tax growth and an outright decline in corporate tax revenue

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    Friday
    Jul082016

    The Week in Public Finance: States in Recession, Higher Ed Winners and Losers, and Virtual Retirement

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  JULY 8, 2016

    Oklahoma's in a Recession

    New economic data shows what Oklahoma officials have been fearing: The state has officially entered a recession. Revised federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data shows that the state’s gross domestic product was negative for most of 2015.

    A recession starts when there are two quarters of economic contraction. Originally, the BEA reported that Oklahoma’s economy contracted in the second quarter, grew by 0.1 percent during the third quarter and contracted again in the last quarter of last year. But the third quarter figure was recently revised downward to -0.6 percent.

    Data for the first quarter of 2016 is expected to be released later this month, but according to State Treasurer Ken Miller, the prospects don’t look good.

    “General indicators fail to point to any marked economic recovery at this point,” he said in his latest state economic report.

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    Friday
    Jul012016

    The Week in Public Finance: Rescuing Puerto Rico, Brexit Fallout and Minimum-Wage Trends

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  JULY 1, 2016

    Puerto Rico’s New Path

    Congress this week has reached an agreement on a rescue bill for Puerto Rico. The troubled territory is set to default for a third time over the past year on a debt payment due today. The legislation, which was signed by President Obama Thursday, follows a long-running debate about whether Congress should intervene at all.

    The bill, called the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, or PROMESA, passed the House of Representatives earlier this month and the Senate on Wednesday. The legislation would allow the island a path to restructure its more than $70 billion in debt while installing a financial control board to govern its finances. It was modeled after similar legislation for Washington, D.C., whose finances were also subject to a control board two decades ago.

    The Takeaway: The legislation won’t stop Puerto Rico from defaulting on its $2 billion debt payment Friday. But the fact that it now has a path to solvency -- however murky and long -- delivers a message of certainty to municipal market investors. To be sure, investors will take a hit and Puerto Rico’s officials will lose immediate control of the island’s financial future. But the process will be far more orderly than it has been in the past year or so. Litigation promised “to be endless and to consume scarce resources of the beleaguered commonwealth’s government," former New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch pointed out in an op-ed this week

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    Friday
    Jun242016

    The Week in Public Finance: What Brexit Means for Muni Bonds, Pension Projections and More

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  JUNE 24, 2016

    What Brexit Means for the Municipal Bond Market

    On Thursday, Britain voters shocked the world by deciding to exit the European Union in a vote that became known as "Brexit," a combination of Britain and exit. The result, which prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to say he will step down in the coming months, has implications for global financial markets, which in turn can affect the U.S. municipal market.

    Even before the results of the vote were in, the uncertainty of the outcome was affecting markets everywhere. Global stocks and some corporate bonds had slumped while demand for traditionally safer assets like U.S. Treasuries and municipal bonds had “soared,” according to Ivan Gulich, senior vice president of the financial firm Loop Capital Markets.

    This increased demand for municipal bonds has driven down interest rates, which is good for governments looking to borrow money. For example, the interest rate on a 30-year Treasury bond is currently lower than it was even in the wake of the Lehman Brothers' 2008 bankruptcy that roiled the corporate market and drove demand toward government securities.

    “What was initially seen as an issue for Europe has rattled markets around the world,” wrote Gulich this week in an analysis.

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    Wednesday
    Jun222016

    After Milestone Year of Recovery, State Spending to Slow

    States' overall budgets finally surpassed pre-recession peaks this year -- but not everywhere.
    BY  JUNE 22, 2016

    This year was one of milestones for state budgets, but the upward swings of 2016 will likely be dampened in the years ahead.

    It took almost a decade, but total state spending and revenues finally surpassed pre-recession peaks this year, according to a new survey from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). Yet more than two dozen states haven’t reached that milestone, a sign of the recovery’s uneven progress after the worst economic collapse in more than a generation.

    While fiscal 2016 also marked the highest annual growth -- 5.5 percent -- for total state spending in nearly a decade, it was primarily driven by significant one-time spending increases and technical adjustments in several large states, including New York, Ohio and Texas. The median spending growth rate across the 50 states was 3.8 percent, which is lower than last year’s but slightly ahead of expectations a year ago.

    Looking ahead, spending is projected to slow down even more, to 2.5 percent next fiscal year (which begins July 1 for most states). Revenues are also projected to slow.

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