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    Entries in SEC (5)

    Friday
    Jun232017

    The Week in Public Finance: Bleak Pension Forecasts, Down on Stadium Debt and More

    BY  JUNE 23, 2017
    The 49ers stadium. (Flickr/Travis Wise)

    Pensions: Best Case, Worst Case

    In the best-case scenario, governments' pension costs will significantly increase over the next two years, concludes a new report by Moody's Investors Service. The report, which analyzes 56 state and local pension plans with liabilities totaling more than $778 billion, finds that under the best circumstances governments' pension bills would increase by 17 percent assuming investment returns totaling about 25 percent over three years.

    Meanwhile, total unfunded liabilities would remain relatively flat, shrinking by about 1 percent. The paltry progress is in part due to some major pension plans changing their accounting assumptions which have increased their reported liabilities.

    In the worst-case scenario, pension plan returns would continue to look a lot like they have in the past two years. That is, eking out a little more than a 2 percent return between 2016 and 2019. If that were the case, Moody's predicts unfunded liabilities could go up by nearly 60 percent and governments' bills would swell by roughly half.

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    Friday
    Apr282017

    The Week in Public Finance: Trump's Tax Plan, the Tampon Tax and Calling Out the SEC

    BY  APRIL 28, 2017

    Trump Sort of Unveils His Tax Plan

    President Trump unveiled his tax reform plan this week, and the massive cuts it proposes have left many wondering how the government would pay for the plan.

    Much of the single-page, bullet-pointed statement, which The New York Times called “less a plan than a wish list,” contained promises Trump made on the campaign trail: a much lower corporate tax rate, the elimination of the U.S. tax on foreign profits, a reduction in the number of individual income tax brackets from seven to three, a lower tax rate, and the scrapping of most itemized deductions, including one that lets taxpayers deduct their state and local taxes from their declared federal income.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that economic growth, combined with eliminating deductions, would pay for the cuts. Meanwhile, a Tax Foundation analysis of some of these key ideas shows that the plan would ultimately result in more tax revenue for state governments.

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    Friday
    Mar102017

    The Week in Public Finance: Paying for Repeal and Replace, SEC's New Disclosure Rule and the Online Sales Tax Fight

    BY  MARCH 10, 2017

     

    The Cost of 'RepubliCare'

    Congressional Republicans this week revealed their replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act. Fiscally, the plan does what the GOP promised: If passed, it is expected to make health-care spending less expensive for the federal government (pending the assessment from the Congressional Budget Office.) States, on the other hand, will have some tough decisions to make regarding Medicaid.

    Under the proposed plan, Medicaid allotments would be capped based on the program's per-capita enrollment in that state. Currently, Medicaid has an open-ended funding structure based on matching whatever a state spends.

    While the plan doesn't repeal the Medicaid expansion, it starts to ramp down that population beginning in 2020 by discontinuing the federal subsidy for any new expansion enrollee. It also works to pare down the population by disqualifying any participant who lets their enrollment lapse and requiring states to redetermine enrollee eligibility every six months.

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    Thursday
    Aug252016

    SEC Censures 71 Governments for Lack of Fiscal Transparency

    Financial timeliness is a problem that's 'widespread and pervasive,' the SEC said.
    BY  AUGUST 25, 2016

    More than 70 state and local governments have been censured for failing to disclose certain financial information about bonds they sold to investors, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday.

    The SEC reached settlements with 71 governments across 45 states as part of a voluntary self-reporting program called the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative (MCDC). Only five states -- Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Oregon and Rhode Island -- had no governments or government entities censured.

    The number of citations show the problem is “widespread and pervasive,” said SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney in a statement.

    MCDC is part of the commission's push for better transparency in the municipal market. Under the program, governments had to review documents associated with bonds they issued over the past five years. If they found anything amiss -- be it that they failed to disclose a previous annual financial report or didn't notify investors of a credit rating downgrade after the sale -- they could voluntarily come forward and obtain favorable settlement terms.

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    Friday
    Aug192016

    The Week in Public Finance: Demanding Better Government Disclosure, Uneven Recoveries and a Party at the Pump

    A roundup of money (and other) news governments can use.
    BY  AUGUST 19, 2016

    More Disclosure Pressure on Munis

    Investors in the municipal market have long demanded better access to governments’ financial information, particularly since the 2008 financial crisis. But tired of waiting, an industry group stepped up its calls for federal regulators to intervene this week in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

    “The failure to publicly disclose bank loans to all market participants can lead to unexpected rating changes that negatively impact bond pricing,” said Lisa Washburn, chair of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts (NFMA). The group is calling for governments to disclose all interim but relevant information, such as an approved fiscal year budget and tax receipts, as well as clearly report any long-term debt obligations.

    The letter also suggests that the SEC adopt the authority to ensure that municipalities file their financial disclosures in a timely manner. Currently, there is no enforced deadline, and governments typically file annual reports anywhere from six months to a year after the close of a fiscal year.

    The Takeaway: The problem from an investor point of view is that the more troubled an issuer is, the more likely it will delay releasing relevant financial information. Take Puerto Rico, which is essentially out of cash and only recently issued its annual financial report for the 2014 fiscal year.

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