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Voters deciding $44 bln in state bond measures

Wednesday, November 05, 2014 - 02:06

Voters in several U.S. states will on Tuesday decide the fate of $44.7 billion in borrowing and other budget measures, with investors in the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market focused mainly on large offerings in California and New York.

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Its not just candidates vying for votes on election day. There's also a lot of big money decisions being made - close to $45 billion dollars in borrowing and other budget measures. Fitch Ratings Laura Porter: SOUNDBITE: LAURA PORTER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, FITCH RATINGS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's a big election year for states. There are ballot measures on 42 in 42 states, and the theme that really emerges when you look at that is ongoing tension between trying to fund priority needs, and also trying to keep taxes down so the initiatives range from large bonding bill proposals to tax caps and tax reductions in some cases." There are two key states investors in the $3.7 trillion muni bond market are focused on. In New York, voters will decide on a $2 billion bond issue for learning equipment and facilities, the second largest bond ballot issue in the country. And in California - the largest single bond referendum: SOUNDBITE: LAURA PORTER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, FITCH RATINGS (ENGLISH) SAYING: " That is a very big proposal. It's $7.5 billion of state bonds for water supply purposes, and I think there is the well recognized need for the reliability of long term water supply in that state and the thought is that that bonding bill will address some of those needs so we think it is important. " Transportation is a big issue as well in California - and and other states like Texas. SOUNDBITE: LAURA PORTER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, FITCH RATINGS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There are large transportation needs. There is, on the state level, general consensus that the traditional funding sources for those needs are not going to be sufficient going forward. So it's something the states have been really focused on, and it's showing up on a number of ballots, and in some cases looking to dedicate constitutionally specific funds to those purposes. In Texas, looking to apply some oil and gas monies to transportation needs and then on the other hand seeing how hard it is to generate revenue in places like Massachusetts and Missouri there is interest in rolling back some gas tax increases in recent years." This year's referendums on debt total nearly a third more than the $34.2 billion in debt on ballots during the presidential election of November 2012, according to data company IPREO.

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Voters deciding $44 bln in state bond measures

Wednesday, November 05, 2014 - 02:06