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Author:  W. Bartley Hildreth.

Source: Volume 38, Number 03, Fall 2017 , pp.1-82(82)

Municipal Finance Journal

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Since 1992, the Municipal Finance Journal has published edited proceedings of the annual conference of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts. The NFMA is the leading association of market analysts. It held its 34th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, on May 16 through 19, 2017. Fortuitously, the NFMA held its conference during Infrastructure Week, a designation bestowed by the White House. Financial banker Bryan Laing moderated a panel on infrastructure featuring research analyst Michael Bennon, ratings director Scott Zuchorski, and management consultant Tyler Duvall. In addition to identifying general trends and developments, the panelists focused on public-private partnerships, technological issues, accounting concerns, international issues, federal funding, and the impact of infrastructure on the municipal securities market. Interestingly, they responded to the provocative question: “Is infrastructure disinvestment the next pensions?” Market interest rates and tax law were the focus of the panel moderated by investor Kjerstin Hatch, which included municipal strategist Vikram Rai, market analyst Thomas Doe, and institutional investor John Miller. The panelists looked at the prospects for tax changes (which did happen, but not until almost seven months later), Federal Reserve interest rate policy, and the potential impact of these issues on municipal bonds. The discussion led to comments on structuring municipal securities. Municipal bondholders face a challenging risk environment given fast-changing political, legal, and economic dynamics, and the question is: “What is the new debt reality?” Market analyst Richard Ciccarone provides insights in his sweeping coverage of market dynamics. Ratings director Gabriel Petek reviews the macroeconomic foundations of state fiscal stress. Municipal strategist Thomas Kozlik focuses on credit deterioration. Journalist Steven Malanga targets public pension funding.

Keywords: Infrastructure Investment; Interest Rate Curve and Tax Law Changes; Municipal Debt

Affiliations:  1: Editor.

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