Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Chicago's bond rating may be downgraded to junk

Dark days for Chicago
The second term for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel will be a rough one.

From Joe Mysak in Bloomberg:
I'm not a betting man. If I were, I'd bet that Chicago is going to be run by an Emergency Financial Control Board, or something like it, within two years, the same as New York City back in 1975 (and until 1986).

The city is now rated Baa2 by Moody's, one step from the basement of investment grade. In cutting the rating ("with a negative outlook") in February, Moody's said, "The negative outlook reflects our expectation that the city's credit quality could weaken as unfunded pension liabilities grow and exert increased pressure on the city's operating budget." Moody's expects "substantial growth in unfunded pension liabilities even if the city's recent pension reforms survive an ongoing legal challenge."

So a cut to junk may well be in the cards, and with it diminished and eventually lack of access to capital. Chicago has already creatively used, and some would say abused, the municipal market to subsidize city operations, as Kristi Culpepper, the Kentucky official who for many years wrote as "Bond Girl," demonstrated in this recent piece, required reading, published on Tumblr.
Our nation is being mis-governed by a Chicagoan and the city's mayor was President Obama's first chief of staff. Obama has run-up record debt while president.

An emergency financial board will make the tough decisions that labor unions and politicians won't.

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