CHICAGO – Illinois lawmakers may have deadlocked over pension reform during their spring session, but they did hand the Illinois Finance Authority some additional financing tools.

Measures approved extend the authority’s cross-border financing capabilities for multi-state projects to cover for-profit businesses as long as they maintain an Illinois headquarters or are undertaking an Illinois-based project.

The authority was also granted the ability to develop a program to help smaller borrowers take advantage of the current low interest rate environment through pooled refinancing. Lawmakers also approved an update to the not-yet funded Emerald Ash Borer Revolving Loan program to include treatment as well as replacement of diseased trees.

Lawmakers included geothermal in the statutory definition of energy efficiency projects and it allows the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity up to three years to fund energy efficiency projects. Legislation also restored the authority’s ability to finance development of new student housing on the campuses of public universities via public-private partnerships.

“In the face of changing market conditions and continuing economic challenges, the Illinois General Assembly has been receptive to the authority’s requests to add tools to meet our job retention/creation mission while continuing to operate on a self-supporting basis, without one penny of appropriated state taxpayer dollars,” said IFA executive director Christopher Meister.

The IFA continues to work on an expansion of its state revolving fund program. State procurement officials recently published two pools of 13 firms chosen to work as senior managers and co-managers on future deals.

Five firms were selected to work in the role of senior manager: JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Citi. The other eight will serve as co-managers. They are Jefferies & Co. Inc., Barclays Capital, Ramirez & Co., Inc., Loop Capital Markets LLC, Raymond James Financial, Wells Fargo Securities, Piper Jaffray & Co., and Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC.

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