Here are some of the key "known unknowns" factors that are likely to affect valuations and creditworthiness and functioning in the state and local finance sector as the Trump Administration and Congress sort them out.
While this election seems less about the economy and policy and more about insults, who knows, maybe the direction of the economy over the past year in swing states can offer some insight.
The worst is yet to come in the SEC's enforcement of municipal disclosure efforts, and it will be very costly for the issuers who missed the boat.
The only two things that Presidential candidates seem to agree on are that their opponent is a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin and that the U.S. must make significant investments in our crumbling infrastructure.
The private sector might be willing to carry risk the public sector doesnt want, or provide capital sooner than the public sector capacity allows, but these benefits come at a cost, and sometimes that cost is hard to measure.
This week we cover two quite different topics, starting with the most recent FEMA data regarding Hurricane Matthew. Then, in an attempt to move us beyond the "Sex, Lies and Audiotape" conversation that is occupying the minds of many Americans, we take a closer look at the importance of exports, employment and wages on the economy.
With voters from nine more states considering marijuana legalization in next months election, heres a state-by-state chart of the revenue implications.
The SEC's MCDC initiative is causing many municipal issuers and underwriters to change the way they do things.
One of the most pronounced indicators of the improvement in Florida's economy is the decline in poverty rates.
Regardless of which candidate takes the oath of office next January, improving our countrys infrastructure will be on the next presidents agenda.
While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has chipped away at the pension problem, Chicago has come nowhere close to identifying a solution. The city must, at a bare minimum, contribute enough every year, including 2016, to ensure that the plans' funded ratio not drop below, and that their unfunded liabilities not exceed, 2015 levels.
Colorado's economy has shown the strongest improvement among states over the last year. The economies of Maryland, Wisconsin and Florida also continue to show strong improvement, while energy and commodity dependent states continue to show the weakest performance.
The orders provide some insight into what the Securities and Exchange Commission considers to be a material false or misleading statement in an offering document.
Restructuring the debt of Chicago and Illinois would entail about two years of unpleasant headlines, but the city and the state will rebound far sooner and less painfully than if they stay on their current paths.
The Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative was a particularly imaginative enforcement solution directed toward a very specific disclosure issue.
Attempts to boil down state government fiscal performance into bite size chunks can be Quixotic exercises, fraught with data problems and ripe for misinterpretation.
Puerto Rico's addiction to debt is not unlike that of an abuser to alcohol or drugs, so perhaps it is time for Puerto Rico to undertake a 12-Step Program, aided by the new financial control board.
While there is something wild about callable premium bonds, fortunately there may be a way to tame them.
Underhanded pay-to-play practices may come back in play.
Not enough has been done to provide municipal issuers, obligated parties and underwriters the clarity sought and needed by the market.
In the past 3½ years, the Securities and Exchange Commission has asserted its enforcement role considerably, in what can fairly be described as a form of direct regulation of issuers.
Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, and Michigan have shown significant improvement in economic health over the past year, while some stronger states have been underperforming.
What's the appeal of the tax-credit alternative? It guarantees that a holder will receive full value as long as he has a matching tax liability. That's true even if the issuing State is in a financial crisis and can't pay its bondholders.
Municipalities buy insurance to obtain a higher credit rating for a bond issue and a commensurately lower borrowing cost. The savings arise from a lower coupon or, if the coupon is fixed, a higher price. But how can municipalities make sure that bond insurance makes economic sense for them? The answer is to pay close attention to the costs and benefits.
No single individual played a more critical role in defending the authority of cities, counties, and states to issue state and municipal debt.
As we await the final shoe to drop with regard to the SEC's MCDC initiative, the municipal market may be at a turning point in terms of disclosure.
States like Colorado will continue to forego revenue, as well as the opportunity to borrow against that revenue in the bond market, until the cannabis industry gains access to the banking system.
Our legislation would preserve money market funds as a source of liquidity and capital for public the infrastructure needs of our citizens.
The interest rate environment can have a big effect on issuers' debt management programs. Heres how to incorporate interest rates prudently to ensure flexibility and long-term sustainability.
Worst case, to-maturity debt service calculations that ignore the issuer's optional redemption feature lead to flatly wrong calculations for critical items like expected capital cost, refunding savings, and simple, basic principal and interest payments.
Gov. Andrew Cuomos infrastructure proposals set the state up for long-term economic competitiveness.
While the market overall is fragmented, there is some concentration in the trading of the largest obligors.
Because long-term non-callable bonds are virtually non-existent, muni analysts no doubt spend sleepless nights trying to figure out what optionless rates would look like.
Whether the cause of the slowdown is weak personal-income growth, income-tax cuts, or the collapse of oil prices, pressure on governors and legislators to balance their budgets will be intense.
Despite increased issuance, senior living outperformed comparable bonds in 2015, a trend that is likely to continue.
The Internal Revenue Service is changing the wrong regulation as it seeks to curb the perceived abuse that tax-exempt, governmental purpose bonds are being issued for the impermissible benefit of private developers.
This week we identify the best and worst performing states and highlight the recent spike in the SIFMA Municipal Swap Index.
Instead of prefunding other post-employment benefits, states and cities need to focus on scaling down, and ultimately eliminating this unnecessary and unaffordable benefit.
New best-execution regulations fail to call for or help establish what is missing in the fixed income market a consolidated quote feed.
In the Flint, Mich., case, Congress seems to be making clear it will increase its criticism of state and local leaders, but avoid any fiscal or moral responsibility.
Bradley Wendt of Charles River Associates provides market context to the MSRBs 2016 mandate that best execution, a hallmark of the taxable fixed income and equity markets, becomes a staple for retail municipal bond investors.
If the decline in Cook Countys population continues, it will make solutions to Chicagos and Illinoiss fiscal problems more difficult, especially if the decline in population is driven by a desire to escape the tax burden.
After being one of the best performing asset classes last year, municipals have underperformed taxable markets this year.
A New Jersey senators proposal to resolve the Puerto Rican economic crisis sets a dangerous precedent by elevating public pensions over the islands other liabilities and thus undermining the time-honored priority of the general obligation pledge. And with many in the municipal market tiring of the islands narrative and choosing to ignore the storyline, the consequences could be dire.
The Presidential race is approaching the stage when it becomes appropriate to begin thinking about the potential for policy changes that would impact the municipal bond market.
Bank placements will continue to be an attractive capital source for not-for-profit hospitals and other tax exempt entities, though the lower cost of capital comes with certain inherent risks compared with traditional publicly offered bonds.
This is not a normal time in Atlantic City. In fact, our city is at a crossroads of historic proportions.
The latest data underscore the weakness of economies in the oil patch and the continued decline in variable rate trading.
Since 2010, over 64,000 new beds on more than 100 different campuses across the country have been financed, built and are being maintained by the private sector.
To address the lack of clarity of chapter 9 and to root it in municipal realities, attorney David Dubrow of Arent Fox LLP lists the top five critical changes that should be made to protect the capital markets.