A rush to buy and sell

The holiday shopping season begins in earnest this week as municipal bond issuers offer buyers a slew of new tax-exempt deals as they rush to beat possible changes to the tax code for 2018.

VOICEOVER: The holiday season rush begins in earnest this week. But this year it’s very different, since municipal bonds will top many shoppers’ lists. Over the next few weeks, municipal bond issuers are coming to market with a boatload of new deals as they aim to beat the 2018 deadline as massive changes to the tax code loom.

This week’s slate tops $10 billion, but some estimate between $50 and $60 billion could come to market before year end. A slew of deals dot this week’s slate including a pension bond deal from Houston, Texas; the Brightline Passenger Rail project bonds in Florida; and an advance refunding deal from Wisconsin. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg- sources tell The Bond Buyer there are billions in deals being done short-term and direct placement that aren’t showing up on the books. Meanwhile, Congress returns to continue work on tax measures, in hopes of getting a bill done before Christmas.

Stay tuned to see who’s been naughty or nice, I’m Chip Barnett, and this has been your Muni Minute.