BOSTON — The fight to keep tax-exemption for interest paid by municipal bonds poses the greatest challenge to state and local bond issuers in three decades, an economist said Friday.

 "We need to give state and local governments the tools to say the numbers are wrong. They don't want to hear from us, the bankers," Citi managing director and senior municipal strategist George Friedlander said at the second and final day of The Bond Buyer's municipal finance conference, co-hosted with the Brandeis University International Business School.

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