Debt servants: how sustainable are states’ legacy costs?

A recent report by JP Morgan’s Michael Cembalest provides a fresh look at the problem of state indebtedness. Cembalest, global head of investment strategy, is best known for his writings on housing and for flagging Bernard Madoff’s fund and refusing to invest in it, even …

Needed: an independent analysis of Detroit’s leadership capacity

The Detroit bankruptcy’s “expert witness” has issued her report, the first truly independent assessment of whether the city has any shot at solvency. In reading through it, one can’t help but wonder what Richard Ravitch would have said. Ravitch is not an accountant, which is …

Will the MBTA’s retirement fund ever come clean?

When signing into law this year’s $36.5 billion state budget a few weeks ago, outgoing Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick vetoed a provision that would have repealed a transparency law aimed at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s pension fund. Though publicly funded, the MBTA Retirement Fund …

The stakes in the Long Island Railroad strike

The likelihood of a strike by Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) workers increased significantly yesterday. The strike threat shows remarkable gumption on the part of the unions. They are willing to inconvenience hundreds of thousands of commuters, vacationers, and local businesses. (The LIRR transports some …

Detroit Rising

       
Sponsored by State Budget Solutions and the Manhattan Institute, this two day conference will discuss the way forward for Detroit and lessons learned for other cities on the brink. 
 
“How The Motor City is Rebuilding and Returning to Greatness”
Thursday, July 17, 2014 at …

Why Detroit should not sell its art: the realist’s case

“A collection of the quality and range of art in the DIA would be impossible to recreate in current times.” -Artvest Partners
Detroit retirees never would have voted to accept its bankruptcy plan and cut their pensions had the city not decades ago acquired an art …

House GOP floats its own pension gimmick

If there were any doubt whatsoever that pensions and politicians are a bad mix, just take a look at the maneuver that Republicans in the NoGimmicksHouse of Representatives are proposing to help bail out the nation’s troubled Highway Trust Fund. The proposal, coming at a time when state and local budgets are getting squeezed in many places thanks to a pension crisis prompted by similar moves, is a reminder that no amount of bad experience will deter politicians from the next fiscal gimmick, if they can use it to put off tough decisions…

How will bankruptcy judge handle Stockton’s pension debt?

The San Joaquin County Taxpayers’ Association reminds us that Stockton’s bankruptcy is in its final days, and points toward a letter it sent to Judge Christopher Klein in April. It makes the following point:
“While common sense suggest that any budget cannot be contained without reducing …

CalPERS deal protects the wealthiest, harms services for a poor city

You can’t really blame the bankrupt city of San Bernardino for rolling over in the face of the powerful California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), by agreeing to a deal to repay $13.5 million in back payments plus interest and penalties. The deal is still …

Could Obamacare prevent future municipal bankruptcies?

Yes, but only if liberal judges get out of the way.
Last week, as the media focused most of its attention on the US Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision and the Vergara ruling in California, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a decision that could …