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Smith's Research & Gradings
Volume: 
XXVIII
Issue: 
13
Author: 
August 3, 2020

Smith's Research & Gradings

Should State and Local Bailout Come With Strings?

One of the great lessons from the Puerto Rico bankruptcy was never to draw to an inside straight — in other words, state and local government politicians need to play the hand that is dealt.

The Governor of Puerto Rico was called to testify before the Senate Committee, whose chairperson asked "Who is in charge?" All the Governor needed to say was "You".

Instead, The Governor insisted the $120 bln. in federal funds be provided to him without any strings. Any conditions to the aid would violate Puerto Rico's sovereignty. He had $70 bln. in par value of defaulted bonds to prove it. He rang-up $30 bln. from Hurricane Maria. He had 15 bln. in unfunded pensions. Puerto Rico received $2 bln. in grant money and $3 bln. in federal loans for specific pre-approved projects.

Clearly, the temptation to "not waste an emergency" can result in politicians running up spending just when cutting costs and expenses are required.
Analysts and investors need to be aware of the political event risks when considering a municipal bond.

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Yankee Stadium Bonds Baa1/NR/BBB+

Fitch Ratings assigned a 'BBB+' rating to the New York City Industrial Development Agency's (NYC IDA) $923 million PILOT Revenue Refunding Bonds,Series 2020, Yankee Stadium Project. Fitch has also affirmed the 'BBB+' rating on the Series 2006 and 2009 bonds, as well as the NYCIDA's Series 2006 and 2009 Rental Revenue Bonds, issued on behalf of Yankee Stadium LLC (StadCo). The Rating Outlook is Stable. The transaction will refund $863 million Series 2006 and 2009 bonds, generating more than $200 million in present value savings.

Silver Line and Purple Line Problems Underscore Challenges to Economic Development Plans

Economic development related to transportation in and around Washington, D.C. underscores the tremendous limitations and challenges facing the area.

Beirut’s Agony: Ports, Food, and China

On August 4th the port of Beirut was the scene of a horrific explosion, which killed more than 150 people, injured 6,000 and left some 300,000 homeless. The damages are estimated to be in excess of $15 billion. The city’s hospitals, already struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were damaged by the blast and swamped with injured. On top of already raging economic and political crises, the explosion now raises the question of food security. Prior to the explosion, 80 percent of Lebanon’s imports passed through Beirut’s port. Without a functioning port in Beirut, the country now relies on a handful of secondary ports, chief among them being Tripoli in the north, to import food and to export its products.

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