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Abstract

Municipal bonds have recently been of national interest and Michigan’s strained economy over the past decade has made bond issuance in the state of particular interest to a variety of stakeholders. Given the close connection between municipal bonds and property taxes, the fall-off in the housing market has placed significant strain on bonds within the state. This paper reviews the Michigan municipal bond condition and develops a new debt assessment indicator system. This system was tested using over 700 Michigan local governments. Based on this indicator system, a number of communities are experiencing significant fiscal stress. However, further examination reveals that at least some of these communities have in place short term plans to address such stress. Most importantly, the report notes that data deficiencies make it difficult to assess the true level of stress and risk in the Michigan municipal bond market.

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