John Kennedy’s channel to victory was dredged and clear from the beginning of the Louisiana Senate race. All he had to do was stay the course.
He did that Saturday (Dec. 10), handily beating Democrat Foster Campbell in the runoff to succeed retiring Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
“Somebody once said winning isn’t everything, and that’s true, but it sure does feel good,” Kennedy said from his victory party at the Embassy Suites in Baton Rouge.
A five-time elected state treasurer, Kennedy rode Louisiana’s inexorable bend toward the Republican party and the popularity of President-elect Donald Trump to win the elected post he has coveted for much of his public career.
Kennedy, 65, will join an emboldened Republican Party in Washington. The GOP kept its majority in the House and control of the Senate — Kennedy’s addition increased that lead to 52-48. Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and GOP congressional leaders have vowed to pursue an aggressive agenda on Day One.
The results confirmed Kennedy’s dominance despite Campbell’s attracting a late-inning surge of donations from Democrats distraught over Trump’s surprising Nov. 8 victory. After raising few outside funds for much of the campaign, the 69-year-old public service commissioner brought in more than $2.5 million in individual donations during the weeks just before and after the presidential election.
“We did everything humanly possible,” Campbell said in his concession speech. “We knew going into this race that it was going to be tough.”
HARTFORD, CT – A $327.4 million General Obligation refunding bond sale conducted earlier this week will save taxpayers $29.3 million in debt service over eight fiscal years, State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier announced today.
“This latest bond sale reflects our ongoing commitment to proactively manage the State’s debt and to take advantage of opportunities in order to achieve real savings for Connecticut’s citizens,” Treasurer Nappier said. “The savings from this bond sale will provide some relief to the state budget — just when it is needed most!”
Of the savings, $2.8 million will be applied to Fiscal Year 2017 as already anticipated in current budget projections. The remaining $26.5 million will reduce debt costs in the state budget, starting in Fiscal Year 2018.
The General Obligation refunding bonds were sold as fixed rate bonds and the proceeds will refinance existing higher cost bonds to lower interest rates for budget savings. The total interest cost was 2.25 percent.
The bonds were first offered to individual investors during a one day retail order period on Monday, December 5. Over $186 million in orders came in from retail investors, the highest level on a General Obligation bond sale since June 2014. An additional $197.9 million of orders came in from institutional investors on the final pricing date of December 6, 2016.
“The retail orders support our belief in the solid value of State bonds. We are delighted to see such strong public demand for Connecticut bonds as worthy investments. By giving individual investors priority during the retail order period, we provide them a compelling opportunity to generate tax-exempt investment income,” said Treasurer Nappier.
The bonds were sold by an underwriting syndicate led by William Blair. The law firms of Day Pitney LLP and Soeder & Associates LLC serve as disclosure counsel with Robinson & Cole LLP and Soeder & Associates serving as tax counsel. Acacia Financial Group, Inc. and PFM are the financial advisors for General Obligation bond sales. The bond sale is scheduled to close on December 21, 2016.
Treasurer Nappier’s Debt Refinancing Program
The Treasurer’s Office has refinanced or defeased $13.1 billion in bonds through the execution of 77 separate financing transactions since Treasurer Nappier took office in January 1999. Total refunding savings on such bond sales now exceeds $1.1 billion. These transactions involved each of the State’s bonding programs, including General Obligation bonds, Special Tax Obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure, Clean Water Fund bonds, University of Connecticut bonds, Bradley Airport bonds, and other bonding programs.
“The State bonding program finances critical infrastructure, and my job is to make sure these investments are funded at the lowest possible cost for taxpayers.” said Treasurer Nappier.
Connecticut typically issues bonds with twenty-year maturities, with provisions that allow the State to pay them off after ten years at no cost. Savings are achieved by refinancing bonds to lower interest rates as well as refinancing longer maturity bonds with shorter maturity, lower cost bonds.
NAST continues to support the development of Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA). Transparency and timely disclosure of relevant information in the municipal securities market is in the best interest of all participants. NAST is constantly working with other organizations and associations to better define what financial, operating and other information is relevant and useful to the market recognizing the significant differences of issuers by size, sector and frequency of issuance. We understand that the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has submitted its own comments regarding the MSRB’s Strategic Priorities document. In working with GFOA, we have decided to make some similar suggestions for EMMA improvement.
The more than $5 billion exodus from municipal-bond funds in November is creating bargains in an often overlooked corner of the tax-exempt debt market.
An index of municipal bonds that are pre-refunded — or paid off as they come due with the proceeds of Treasuries that are held in escrow — yields 1.53 percent, the highest since July 2009. To meet redemptions, mutual-fund mangers are selling the bonds, which are rated AAA because they’re secured by the income from the federal-government debt.
The selloff triggered by Donald Trump’s presidential victory drove state and local-government securities to a 3.46 percent loss in November, the worst month since September 2008, when financial markets seized up after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, according to the S&P Municipal Bond Index.
The Republican’s pledge to cut income taxes and boost spending on infrastructure stoked speculation that the Federal Reserve will need to increase interest rates more aggressively to keep inflation from picking up. Tax cuts could also lessen demand for municipal bonds, whose interest payments are exempt from the federal income tax.
WORCESTER – With last month’s national election signaling a likely move away from the concept of free higher education, state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg on Thursday said college savings programs like her office’s SeedMA initiative are now “more important than ever.”
Ms. Goldberg made her comments at a roundtable discussion on college costs and financial literacy at Clark University, where she answered questions from about a dozen attendees for about an hour. One of the participants, a student at Clark, asked the treasurer what she thought about free college, an idea that gained traction in the past year thanks to Democratic leaders like President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“I was for that,” Ms. Goldberg said. “But I’m afraid we’re going backwards right now. Now the kinds of programs we’re doing are even more important.”
Ms. Goldberg specifically was referring to the SeedMA program, which debuted as a pilot in Worcester this year. The initiative encourages parents of young children to save for college by giving each kindergartner in the city an initial $50 donation to open a 529 college savings account.
The treasurer’s office opened enrollment for the program to Worcester families in the summer. Deputy Treasurer Alayna Van Tassel said the treasurer’s office plans to release initial sign-up numbers soon.
“For year one, they’re certainly meeting our expectations,” she said.