Illinois looks to its own coffers to pay off MLF loan

Link: https://fixedincome.fidelity.com/ftgw/fi/FINewsArticle?id=202105211243SM______BNDBUYER_00000179-8fa2-d80e-a97d-8fa3c5720001_110.1#new_tab

Excerpt:

Illinois will dip into its growing pot of tax revenues to pay off the remaining $2.175 billion of outstanding debt borrowed through the Federal Reserve?s Municipal Liquidity Facility to manage last year?s COVID-19 tax blows.

The Treasury Department?s interim guidance, released May 10, barring debt repayment as an eligible use of American Rescue Plan dollars threw a wrench ? at least temporarily ? into Chicago’s and Illinois? plans to pay down debt issued last year. Illinois borrowed through the MLF and Chicago issued notes ahead of a planned scoop-and-toss borrowing to stave off deep cuts and layoffs as tax revenues plummeted. Both planned to pay off the debt with ARP funds.

Both planned to lobby the Treasury Department for a guidance change during a 60-day comment period, but Illinois was under the gun to make repayment plans ahead of a May 31 deadline to pass a fiscal 2022 budget. The state is receiving $8.1 billion from the ARP.

Author(s): Yvette Shields

Publication Date: 21 May 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income

Providence is ready to roll the dice on a pension bond

Link: https://fixedincome.fidelity.com/ftgw/fi/FINewsArticle?id=202105211039SM______BNDBUYER_00000179-8608-ddb0-adf9-ff4cb4b00001_110.1

Excerpt:

Red flags waved as Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza proposed issuing $704 million in pension obligation bonds to deal with a pestering unfunded liability problem in Rhode Island’s capital city.

The amount exceeds the city’s annual operating budget. Bond markets often frown on such borrowing and sentiment among state officials who must sign off is uncertain. Skeptics also call the city’s fiscal management track record shaky, while memories linger of a fiasco in Woonsocket, which tried a similar move nearly 20 years ago.

Author(s): Paul Burton

Publication Date: 21 May 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income

Harvey, Illinois’ ARP relief dragged into pension fund conflict

Link: https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/harvey-illinois-arp-relief-dragged-into-pension-fund-conflict#new_tab

Excerpt:

A Harvey, Illinois, pension fund claims it’s entitled to share in the Chicago suburb’s American Rescue Plan funds and wants to block the distribution of aid until a judge decides.

The financially stressed suburb south of Chicago, which has battled over the last decade with its public safety pension funds, the city of Chicago, and bondholders about its obligations, settled a legal dispute with its police and firefighters’ over past due payments in 2018.

The Firefighters Pension Fund is now staking a claim on Harvey’s share of the $350 billion for local, state and tribal governments in the coronavirus relief package President Biden signed in March, arguing Harvey’s share is subject to the 10% claim on city tax funds that flow through the state and are sent directed to the fund the city agreed to in a 2018 settlement.

Author(s): Yvette Shields

Publication Date: 14 May 2021

Publication Site: Bond Buyer

No rating red flags stand out in Illinois’ proposed budget

Link: https://fixedincome.fidelity.com/ftgw/fi/FINewsArticle?id=202102191505SM______BNDBUYER_00000177-bb7c-d32d-a5f7-bbfd87c10001_110.1#new_tab

Excerpt:

The prospects for new federal aid and a proposed budget that avoids negative rating triggers should preserve Illinois? investment-grade status, but neither moves the needle on the structural and pension albatrosses.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed $95.5 billion fiscal 2022 budget, with a $41.7 billion general fund, clears what was estimated late last year as a $5.5 billion gap, using higher revenue projections and a combination of structural and one-time maneuvers.

In addition to higher tax collections and federal Medicaid matching dollars now expected, the budget holds spending level to fiscal 2021. It raises about $900 million in revenue by curbing corporate tax breaks, keeps some funds earmarked for local governments, the capital fund, and transit agencies and delays repayment of some inter-fund borrowing. It does not rely on an income tax or other general tax increases and it does rely on more federal funds as they are not yet approved.

Author(s): Yvette Shields

Publication Date: 19 February 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income

Illinois sports agency’s new board chief inherits coronavirus-driven debt woes

Link: https://fixedincome.fidelity.com/ftgw/fi/FINewsArticle?id=202101251510SM______BNDBUYER_00000177-3a79-d154-a1f7-7ef9935b0001_110.1

Excerpt:

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tapped incumbent Illinois Sports Facilities Authority board member Leslie Darling to replace outgoing chairman Manuel ?Manny? Sanchez, putting her at the helm of the agency hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic?s deep wounds to hotel taxes, which are used to repay its debts.

The board governs the agency that owns and operates and issued $150 million of bonds in 1989 for Guaranteed Rate Field where Major League Baseball?s White Sox play and served as the issuer for $400 million of 2001 bonds that financed the renovation of the Chicago Park District-owned Soldier Field ? home of the National Football League?s Chicago Bears. About $430 million of debt is outstanding.

Author: Yvette Shields

Publication Date: 25 January 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income

Chicago Public Schools tees up first pandemic-era bond deal

Link: https://fixedincome.fidelity.com/ftgw/fi/FINewsArticle?id=202101251653SM______BNDBUYER_00000177-3b58-d624-adf7-ff7a48da0001_110.1

Excerpt:

Chicago’s school district is heading into the market for its first COVID-19 era deal with a balance sheet shored up by federal relief.

The district is selling this week $560 million of tax-exempt, dedicated revenue-backed general obligation paper that carries two junk ratings and one at investment grade.

The deal offers $450 million of new money to finance capital work and $110 million of bonds that will refund 2006, 2009 and 2010 debt for savings with no extension of the original maturity. State aid is the pledged dedicated revenue on both pieces with other intergovernmental agreement-related revenue also pledged on the new money series.

Author: Yvette Shields

Publication Date: 25 January 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity Fixed Income

Original Publisher: Bond Buyer

Harvey, Illinois, faces renewed scrutiny of 2014 SEC consent agreement

Link: https://fixedincome.fidelity.com/ftgw/fi/FINewsArticle?id=202101211503SM______BNDBUYER_00000177-2650-dd2a-a17f-f7d29f810001_110.1#new_tab

Excerpt:

A federal judge ordered Harvey, Illinois, to rehire a consultant and prove the status of management reforms the city agreed to in a 2014 consent judgment that settled charges the Chicago suburb fraudulently used bond proceeds.

After a series of communications over the last year about the status of the impoverished city’s compliance, the Securities and Exchange Commission dragged the city back to court in October.

Author: Yvette Shields

Publication Date: 21 January 2021

Publication Site: Fidelity

Original Publisher: Bond Buyer