Host, Peter Murphy, takes us through a wrinkle in credit with S&P Global Lead Analysts David Hitchcock, Blake Yocom, and Ying Huang as they journey through the United States from west to east to discuss California’s “No Place Like Home” bonds, the pensions of Cook County, Illinois and Massachusetts based Lasell University.
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- David Hitchcock, Senior Director and Lead Analyst in the States sector, dissects California’s “No Place Like Home” (NPLH) senior revenue bonds, an issuance created to fund housing and mental health services for California’s homeless population. The NPLH bonds are secured by a tax pledge from individuals with incomes over one million dollars – most of which comes from capital gains, and is thus exposed to stock market volatility. David notes despite the strong performance of the issuance, “millionaire taxes” have not seen much replication to this point within the United States. For the full analysis head over to Capital IQ.
- Blake Yocom, a Director and Lead Analyst in the Local Governments Midwest group, introduces Cook County, Illinois and its large and underfunded pensions. In January 2020, Cook County’s general obligation (GO) and sales tax revenue bonds were both downgraded one notch (to ‘A+’ and ‘AA-’ respectively), illustrating the impact of issuers carrying significant pension liabilities. Blake explains the $12 billion net pension liability can conceivably continue to pressure the rating, despite the county’s ability to make mandatory contribution payments. Learn more about Cook County’s GO bonds and sales tax bonds.
- Ying Huang, Director and Lead Analyst in the Higher Education group, presents Massachusetts based Lasell University. Lasell is a rarity in the Higher Education sector – following a downgrade in November 2019 from ‘BBB-’ to ‘BB+’ it is among 8% of the rated universe in the speculative grade category. Ying outlines Lasell may continue to see downward pressure, reflected in the negative outlook, as the university faces headwinds from enrollment declines and the associated operating deficits, in addition to shrinking covenant headroom. To read more about Lasell University, visit the S&P Global website.