Economists: More Growth Ahead, Unclear for Jobs

WASHINGTON — Economists have raised their estimates for economic growth in 2011, but they have mixed views on whether the unemployment rate will come down. While an improved economy should bode well for state and local governments, most will still face severe budget problems, particularly with the loss of federal stimulus funds.

Utilities Eye Regs and Renewables

WASHINGTON — The outlook for public power utilities is uncertain for next year, as federal regulators ramp up efforts to implement greenhouse-gas regulations and states and regions push for developing more renewable energy sources.

Rush for BABs May Draw IRS Scrutiny

WASHINGTON — Some transaction participants appear to be rushing to market questionable Build America Bond, bank-qualified or other municipal bond deals before tax incentives expire at the end of the year and risking Internal Revenue Service enforcement action for violations of tax requirements, according to market sources.

Market Faces a Generational Year

WASHINGTON — Next year could bring some of the most significant changes in the municipal securities market in 35 years as regulators try to fulfill a vast array of mandates under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and Congress weighs potentially expanded federal oversight of the market.

Transport Issues Still Snarled

WASHINGTON — Improving economic conditions are likely to put new stresses on the nation’s roads, airports and ports in 2011, but congressional gridlock could stymie efforts to pass already delayed funding packages for capital investments in surface transportation and the air-travel network.

States, Localities Pin Hopes on Rebound

WASHINGTON — Faced with the loss of stimulus aid, state and local governments are hoping the economy will rebound in time to support their budgets and defuse market concerns over credit downgrades and possible bond defaults, market participants said in their outlooks for 2011.

Munis Face Uphill Battle in Congress

WASHINGTON — Municipal market groups next year will face an uphill battle trying to get Congress to resurrect the Build America Bond program and other bond-related tax incentives that expire Dec. 31.

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