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Chicago Sun Times

City sells $1.16B in bonds, but pays a heavy price for CPS crisis

Chicago sold $1.16 billion in general obligation bonds Thursday, but paid a heavy price for a school financial crisis made worse by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill promising $215 million in pension help.

The “spread” between Chicago’s interest rate and the interest rate the city would have paid if it had a AAA bond rating ranged from 3.3 percent to 3.5 percent, according to Matt Fabian, a partner at Municipal Market Analytics.

Fabian called it the “worst spread” in recent memory on a city bond deal.

Even more surprising was the fact that the interest rate on Chicago’s general obligation bonds was a “full percentage point” higher than it was a year ago — before the City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to slap a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the largest of four city employee pension funds.

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WBEZ.org

Moody’s: Bankruptcy, Skipping Pension Payments Options for CPS

Matt Fabian, a partner at Municipal Market Analytics, says the city is on the right track, but it’s delicate.

“In general, the city is doing the right things,” Fabian says. “But it’s just started doing the right things. And it’s depending on time to give it more financial flexibility. Maybe it will have that time, and maybe it won’t.” 

He says risks faced by the city and its school system are probably the top two conversations in his professional world.

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