Chicago Federal Reserve Says Dont Worry About Muni Defaults

There is good news and bad news from the Chicago Federal Reserve which said that 2011 will be a tough year in local government finance. Minimal growth or outright declines in property tax revenues, reduced assistance from state governments, and requirements to make larger payments to underfunded public pension funds will loom large for many local governments. However, if history is any guide, few local governments will either default on their municipal bonds or end up in bankruptcy. The aftermath of actual local government bankruptcies—such as that of Vallejo, CA, in 2008—suggest that governments are hurt badly when they emerge from bankruptcy, particularly in their ability to issue debt. And so, in all but the most dire cases, local governments under stress are likely to take alternative steps to shore up their fiscal positions.