This week we review our proprietary DIVER Geo Score, highlight the strongest and weakest States as well as provide you a link to get the scores themselves. We also focus on the divergent economies of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.
This week we examine whether private sector amateur economists are any better at predictions than the professionals.
Which local governments might use the bankruptcy option if Gov. Bruce Rauners bankruptcy bill is enacted?
Politics, public policy and public interest are the fundamental building blocks for public private partnerships in infrastructure.
There are compelling reasons to convert to a decimal system for rating municipal bonds from the current alpha-numeric rating scheme.
Continuing claims data and a recent Washington Post column shed light on economic dispersion around the nation. We also review the effectiveness of the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation program and the Government Development Banks index of Puerto Ricos economic health.
Signals from the Philly Fed Index show an increase in the dispersion of economic health among the States.
The Obama administration's proposal to create a new class of tax-exempt debt that is permitted within the context and requirements of public private partnership is a hopeful sign of a way forward in creating a new hybrid infrastructure financing model.
Our recently released proprietary DIVER Geo Score rank the strongest and weakest States, and show the Garden State, which once had one of the strongest state economies in the nation, has lagged.
This week, we chart the most recent State economic data from the Philly Fed, respond to a reader inquiry regarding our previous discussion of SLGS, and highlight a little noticed piece of Puerto Rico news from last week.
Data from the U.S. Treasury on State and Local Government Series Securities indicate the amount of pre-refunded bonds outstanding may be shrinking.
This week, we discuss a new measure of pension funding, examine the impact of oil prices on labor markets in oil dependent States and discuss changing levels of food stamp participation.
A review of our proprietary DIVER Geo Scores highlights the strongest and weakest States. And we provide an update to drought conditions in California and identify some states that face export challenges.
This week, we check in on how quickly States and cities are submitting their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report's and examine what the State filings are telling us regarding debt growth.
An examination of county level employment data shows some counties aren't participating in the reported national revival.
Although defaults have not yet occurred, it is not too early for holders to take a hard look at the applicable bond documents to evaluate their rights and leverage in the restructurings or refinancings that have begun and which may proliferate in the years ahead.
Some local governments may require extraordinary financial assistance from the Commonwealth, adding to pressure on its general obligations.
The most recent Mortgage Delinquency Rates highlight a wide dispersion across the nation, while analysis of municipal bond ratios to Treasuries shows munis may not be a "cheap" as you thought.
The Tax Reform Act for Puerto Rico presented by Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla is the significant change Puerto Rico needs to stimulate the commonwealth's economic development and confront the Island's fiscal challenges.
Don't be surprised if some of these proposals ideas pop up in whatever tax legislative vehicle might start moving forward later in the year.
Given the magnitude and condition of U.S. infrastructure and the Federal push to "level the playing field" by expanding the availability of tax-exempt finance for public-private partnership procurements, the U.S. is poised to become a very active and substantial P3 market.
Texas biggest city takes a modestly positive step regarding its pension issues, while Connecticut is a notable underperformer in the most recent price data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Some pension obligation bonds can create a visible and fixed repayment plan to tackle the unfunded pension liability monster that is stealthily growing underneath the budget table of many state and local governments.
This weeks commentary starts with a review of Lumesis DIVER Geo Scores, highlighting the strongest and weakest states.
The dialogue over tax reform provides an opening for state and local governments to educate members of Congress and their staff about municipal bonds, how they work and what they do.
Circumstances have changed and a different approach to Puerto Rico debt is warranted.
Doubts as to the quality or effectiveness of Indiana's intercept program are misplaced.
Congress should end Puerto Rico's exclusion from federal bankruptcy protection but it's unfair to leave the territory's existing creditors in the lurch.
There are few lay-ups in muni bond investing, but jettisoning buy-and-hold for dynamic tax management may be one of them.
Discussion at a recent industry panel addressed possible impacts of the global economy on U.S. states and describe additional metrics to watch to monitor health of municipal pensions.
As 2015 begins, capital markets participants would do well to reflect on the lessons of recent Chapter 9 proceedings.
The ruling that the former mayor was liable for violations of securities laws as a "control person" is one of which every official of a state or local government issuing debt should be aware.
The suspension of the nation's debt limit expires March 15, with important implications for municipal issuers selling refunding debt during the next several weeks.
Qualified Public Infrastructure Bond plan marks a further step in the Obama administration's Build America Investment Initiative.
The White House generated fresh ideas aimed at curing the nation's infrastructure woes in its budget proposal, but shot itself in the foot by including a limit on the federal tax exemption for municipal bonds.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a long history of fiscal uncertainty and structural deficits. Responding to decades of general fund deficits in 2014, the rating services lowered the ratings on the Commonwealths general obligation credit to below investment grade, or junk status.
Contrary to the assertion in a Bond Buyer article that the 2010s may turn out to be the decade of the municipal bankruptcy, it is remarkable how few muni bankruptcies were sought in the wake of the most severe fiscal crisis to hit local governments since the Great Depression.
The Internal Revenue Service has announced a simplified process for issuers that have loaned proceeds of qualified 501(c)(3) bonds to borrowers that automatically lost their tax-exempt status for failing to file annual returns or notices for three consecutive years, but have subsequently received reinstatement of their tax-exempt status from the IRS.
The Florida dirt bond sector, after retrenching dramatically during the financial crisis, is showing signs of recovery in both market activity and credit measures.
Some non-dealer municipal advisors wrongly believe providing advice to an issuer in their capacity as a municipal advisors means they can also act as an intermediary between the issuer and investors.
As it steps up its efforts to police the municipal securities market, the regulator is turning to potentially career ending sanctions for municipal officials.
With the government contemplating changes to the tax exempt status of municipal bonds and investors faced with dubiously researched claims about the potential for defaults, the industry needs someone to step into the late Jim Lebenthal's role, his daughter writes.
When markets are so opaque that trading occurs only in a small fraction of outstanding issues, transactional and risk clarity has to be restored, a market advisor writes.
Are some tax-exempt bond issuers incurring unnecessary costs and unexpected risks by over-relying on traditional fixed rate debt?
The Allen Park, Mich., case marks the first time a city official has been charged on the theory that he "controlled" the persons who committed the primary securities law violations, even though he isn't alleged to have participated or even known of the conduct at issue.
Voters in California and Texas, the nation's two most populous states, scored notable victories for fiscal responsibility on Election Day by overwhelmingly taking stands against shifting today's obligations onto the backs of future generations.
While Puerto Rico faces fiscal problems that are similar to those of 1970s New York, it's important to note the differences between the two economies as the island commonwealth seeks a solution.
While finding new revenue sources for highway improvements is indeed a thorny political issue, analysts at Conning feel that the credit quality of the existing bonds remains sound.
Delivery of the Official Statement satisfies MSRB Rule G-32 - but not the new Time-of-Trade Disclosure Rule, MSRB Rule G-47.
Americans are suffering the consequences of Congress, governors and legislators across the U.S. pushing the burden of today's costs onto the backs of tomorrow's taxpayers by repeatedly putting off infrastructure repairs and new construction.