Topic: Tax Exempt Bonds

Puerto Rico: Not Your Father’s Debt Crisis – or Your Greek Uncle’s

By :: July 1st, 2015

In a remarkable statement, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced this week that Puerto Rico’s debts are “not payable.” Nobody was really surprised. The island can work its way out of this financial mess with a two-pronged strategy: An aggressive short-term effort to raise taxes, cut spending, and improve financial controls combined with a long-run plan […]

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Bertha and the French Professor: Lessons for Public Private Partnerships

By :: October 21st, 2014

Jean Tirole is an influential, respected, and by all accounts gracious man who won this year’s Nobel Prize in economics. Bertha is a 7,000-ton tunnel boring machine that’s been stuck under Seattle for nine months—but is still tweeting—as state officials and a private contractor battle over who should pay to get her out. What do […]

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Camp Tax Reform Would Create New Challenges for States

By :: March 3rd, 2014

House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp’s recent tax reform plan would raise the cost of doing business for many state and local governments. Camp would repeal the deductibility of state and local taxes, including both property taxes and income taxes. He’d abolish tax-exempt private activity bonds. And he’d impose a 10 percent surtax on municipal […]

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Who Benefits from Muni Bonds? It’s More Complicated Than You Think

By :: October 29th, 2013

Who benefits the most from the tax subsidy for municipal bonds? The easy answer is: Rich people who buy most of the tax-free paper. That’s true, according to a new analysis by my colleagues at the Tax Policy Center, but the story isn’t quite that simple. If you look more closely, it turns out that […]

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No City is an Island: What the Stockton City Bankruptcy Means (and Doesn’t)

By :: April 3rd, 2013

A few years ago, it was fashionable to compare California, Illinois, or whatever U.S. state was struggling financially to the troubled island nation of Greece.  Now, with Stockton, California the largest U.S. municipality to enter bankruptcy, it may be tempting to make another Mediterranean comparison – this time to the troubled island nation of Cyprus. […]

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Build America Bonds, the Medicaid Expansion, and Trust Between the States and the Feds

By :: March 7th, 2013

States trying to decide whether to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income uninsured might want to take a look at the fate of a more obscure federal program—cash subsidies to state and local governments that sell certain kinds of bonds, especially Build America  Bonds. If they do, they’ll see what happens to a […]

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Should Congress Curb Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds?

By :: August 28th, 2012

As politicians and their allies look for ways to finance tax rate cuts, a surprising option is getting a great deal of attention among conservatives: The tax exemption for municipal bonds. Mitt Romney’s economic adviser Glenn Hubbard, The Wall Street Journal editorial page, and the American Enterprise Institute’s Matt Jensen are among those who in recent weeks […]

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Using Tax Exempt Bonds to Demolish Homes: Another View

By :: April 10th, 2012

Last week, I blogged about a plan to use tax-exempt bonds to finance the demolition of vacant homes in distressed Midwestern neighborhoods.  Rolf Pendall, director of the Urban Institute’s  Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, has a different perspective: I agree entirely that a piecemeal approach to the current crisis isn’t appropriate and that the […]

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Should Muni Bonds Pay To Demolish Buildings?

By :: April 5th, 2012

Two Ohio Members of Congress have introduced a bill to allow states to issue tax-exempt bonds to demolish buildings. Not to build them, but to destroy them. Score this one as a bad solution to a real problem. The lawmakers, Republican Steve LaTourette and Democrat Marcia Fudge, want to allow state governments to issue up to $4 […]

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