Fitch rates Vermont Muni Bond Bank’s $9.5 million Gen Res program bonds ‘AA’; outlook stable

first_imgFitch Ratings assigns an ‘AA’ rating to the following 2011 Vermont Municipal Bond Bank bonds, issued under the 1988 General Resolution:–$9,500,000 (federally taxable qualified school construction bonds) 2011 series 1.The bonds are expected to sell via negotiation on March 9, 2011. Bond proceeds will be loaned to two local school districts for capital improvements.In addition, Fitch affirms $516,930,000 in outstanding general resolution bonds at ‘AA’.The Rating Outlook is Stable.RATING RATIONALE:–The program’s pledged reserves and loan repayments, excluding federal subsidies, allow the bonds to withstand borrower defaults of up to 17.22% for four years without causing an interruption in bond payments. This is consistent with Fitch’s criteria for assigning an ‘AA’ rating given the loan pool’s borrowers’ credit quality, size and diversification.–The program, which consists of more than 260 borrowers, is diverse with low single-borrower concentration.–The program’s loan security is strong, with approximately 97% of all loans backed by a general obligation pledge and additional protection from borrower defaults through a state-aid intercept mechanism.KEY RATING DRIVERS:–The bond bank’s ability to balance future leveraging with program resources to maintain borrower default tolerance levels that pass Fitch’s ‘AA’ stress test scenarios is important to maintain the rating.–Credit quality of the bonds is also linked to repayment performance on the program’s loan portfolio.SECURITY:Program bonds are secured by borrower loan repayments and debt service reserve funds. A state moral obligation on the reserve fund and a state-aid intercept provision for borrowers provide additional credit enhancement.CREDIT SUMMARY:Established in 1970, The Vermont Municipal Bond Bank (VMBB) is a quasi-state agency. It is administered by a five-member board consisting of four gubernatorial appointees and the state treasurer. The bond bank issues bonds and uses the proceeds to make loans to local government borrowers throughout the state. Virtually all of Vermont’s eligible municipalities use the bond bank as their primary borrowing vehicle because it offers local government borrowers the lowest cost of capital.The loan pool consists of more than 260 borrowers from cities, towns, counties, school districts and other local governments throughout the state. Approximately 97% of all loans are backed by a general obligation pledge; the remaining are backed by utility pledges from five borrowers. About 52% of the loans are to school districts, which are further backed by an intercept mechanism that includes any state funds payable to borrowers. State aid is reportedly over 90% of school district debt service. The loan portfolio’s largest borrower, Springfield School District, comprises only 5% of the portfolio. The top 10 borrowers account for 32% of the total outstanding loan balance.Fitch analyzed the default tolerance of the VMBB loan pool using a stress test it also applies to state revolving funds and other municipal loan pools. The stress test considers loan quality, single risk concentration, reserve fund size, and debt service requirements. The program’s pledged reserves and loan repayments, excluding the federal subsidies, allow the bonds to withstand borrower defaults of up to 17.2% for four years without causing an interruption in bond payments. This is consistent with Fitch’s criteria for assigning an ‘AA’ rating given the loan pool’s borrowers’ credit quality, size and diversification (17.09%).With the 2011 -1 issue, VMBB offers its fourth series of federally subsidized bonds, Qualified School Construction and Recovery Zone Economic Development, which provide 0% and 45% in interest rate subsidies, respectively, offsetting the pool participants’ cost of borrowing. However, as the pool continues to leverage these issues, the program’s cash flow margins become tighter under Fitch’s stressed scenarios, which assume that no scheduled federal debt service subsidies are received. Per its report ‘Build America Bonds Broaden Municipal Market – Credit Considerations’ dated April 27, 2010, Fitch assesses the ability of the issuer to pay full interest on the BABs, regardless of the subsidy. While Fitch believes there could be offsets to some annual subsidy payments, it believes that VMBB management would take action to address the reasons for the offset and avoid multiple years with no subsidy, including the use of certain optional redemption provisions for its federally subsidized bonds. Nevertheless, the bond bank’s ability to balance future leveraging with program resources to maintain borrower default tolerance levels that pass Fitch’s ‘AA’ stress test scenarios is important to maintain the rating.The program’s debt service reserve fund, which is sized at the least of maximum annual debt service, 125% average annual debt service, or 10% of bond proceeds, is funded with bond proceeds and invested in U.S. treasury and agency securities. Pledged reserves, currently total $49.9 million, or 9.7% of bonds outstanding. In addition, the bank maintains approximately $10.9 million in unrestricted general fund reserves, which are not pledged to bondholders but may be used if a deficiency occurs. The bonds are also supported by a state moral obligation to replenish the debt service reserve fund if it falls below its minimum specified level. Neither the intercept nor the moral obligation has ever been utilized, because no borrower has defaulted on a loan repayment since the bond bank began operations in 1970.Loan payments are due 15 days before the bond payment dates. Under Vermont’s state intercept provision, if a borrower fails to make its scheduled loan repayment, the bond bank will certify the failure of that payment with the state treasurer. The state treasurer would then pay the defaulted loan amount to the bank’s trustee from amounts appropriated and payable by the state to the defaulted borrower, if available. If sufficient state aid is unavailable, it will be paid from subsequent interceptable state aid payments, with bond bank reserves covering the temporary shortfall. To date, this mechanism has not been tested as there have not been any loan defaults in the history of the program.Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com(link is external).Applicable Criteria and Related Research:–‘Revenue-Supported Rating Criteria’ (Oct. 8, 2010);–‘State Revolving Fund and Municipal Loan Pool Rating Guidelines’ (April 28, 2008);–‘Build America Bonds Broaden Municipal Market – Credit Considerations’ (April 27, 2010).For information on Build America Bonds, visit www.fitchratings.com/BABs(link is external).Applicable Criteria and Related Research:Revenue-Supported Rating Criteriahttp://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=5…(link is external)State Revolving Fund and Municipal Loan Pool Rating Guidelineshttp://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=3…(link is external)Build America Bonds Broaden Municipal Market — Credit Considerationshttp://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=5…(link is external)  CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–last_img read more

Newman leads Kansas past Duke in OT to make Final Four

first_imgHE SAID IT“We didn’t even talk about going to the Final Four. All we talked about is Duke. I do think playing Duke in that game helped us. It was fun. I would be proud to have coached in that game even if the outcome is different,” Self said.UP NEXTDuke: Welcoming the next batch of one-and-done stars.Kansas: The Jayhawks are in the Final Four for the 15th time. Recto seeks to establish Taal rehab body to aid community, eruption victims Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. This was college basketball at its best, two blue bloods trading blows for 45 minutes in what was arguably the best game of March so far, one that featured 18 lead changes and 11 ties.Had Grayson Allen’s bank shot to end regulation gone half an inch in a different direction, it might be Duke heading to South Texas.But it didn’t, and instead the Jayhawks are moving on.“It was an honor to play in this game,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who remained tied with UCLA legend John Wooden with 12 Final Four performances. “I think both teams were deserving of winning.”Newman, a redshirt sophomore who came on late this season, drilled his fifth and final 3 from the corner to make it 81-78 with 1:49 left. Newman followed with four straight free throws, and the Jayhawks’ defense stiffened enough to knock the favored Blue Devils out of the tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Conor McGregor seeks to emerge from controversy in UFC comeback Malik Newman and the top-seeded Jayhawks got past their Elite Eight road block Sunday, knocking off second-seeded Duke 85-81 in overtime to clinch the program’s first trip to the Final Four since 2012.Newman scored all 13 of the Jayhawks’ points in OT and finished with a career-high 32 to lead Kansas (31-7).FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownThe Jayhawks will face fellow top seed Villanova on Saturday in San Antonio — the site of KU’s last title over Memphis in 2008 — after snapping a two-game losing skid in the regional finals.“Everything we’ve been through…we do it for moments like this,” Kansas star Devonte’ Graham said. “Especially after the last two years, getting over the hump. It just feels (perfect).” LATEST STORIES Scarlett Johansson, Sterling K. Brown among SAG Awards presenters View comments Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award In Liverpool, Man United sees the pain and path to recovery Lone dog: No. 11 Loyola joins list of regulars at Final Fourcenter_img Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Cabuyao City rising above the ashes through volunteerism For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham (4) holds the trophy after defeating Duke in a regional final game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Sunday, March 25, 2018, in Omaha, Neb. Kansas won 85-81 in overtime. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)OMAHA, Neb. — Kansas is going back to the Final Four.It’s hard to argue that Duke shouldn’t be headed there as well after the most riveting show of the NCAA tournament.ADVERTISEMENT Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Trevon Duval scored 20 points, two shy of a career high, for Duke. Freshman star and future lottery pick Marvin Bagley added 16 points and 10 rebounds in what could have been his final game for the Blue Devils (29-8), who fell shy of their first Final Four trip since winning the national title in 2015.Allen had 12 points for the Blue Devils, but the senior’s try at the regulation buzzer went in and then out and then off the rim before spinning away to force overtime.“I was trying to drive right, he cut me off. Went back left. Their big stepped into help. I had to get a shot up over him. I tried to bank it in and it about went in,” said Allen, who finished his brilliant career with 1,996 points.THE BIG PICTUREKansas: This might be the unlikeliest of coach Bill Self’s three Final Four squads. They are not stacked with obvious future NBA starters and they lost three times at home this season. But the Jayhawks banded together to win the Big 12′s regular season and conference titles and now the Midwest Region. By doing so, they proved to their coach that they were hardly soft — a claim that Self had made often earlier in the season. And with the final buzzer about to sound and the outcome suddenly in focus, Self clenched both of his fists and lifted his arms in the air for a celebration years in the making.Duke: The Blue Devils might see four of their freshman stars bolt for the NBA Draft, an expected exodus led by Bagley, a likely top-five pick. Duke will also lose Allen, one of the best players in school history. Don’t cry for Coach K, who has four five-star recruits committed to join the program next year. But this season will likely be remembered as a lost opportunity — and for that Allen shot that went agonizingly out of the rim.PIVOTAL MOMENTDuval was a revelation in the opening half, scoring 13 points to give the Blue Devils a 36-33 lead that at times felt like it could’ve been bigger. But the Jayhawks opened the second with a 13-3 run, forcing Duke to answer quickly. The Blue Devils did just that, time and time again, until it had the lead in the final minute. But Kansas senior Svi Mykhailiuk drilled a 3 with 25.7 seconds left in the second half to knot the game at 72-all.THE NUMBERSKansas outrebounded Duke 47-32, a staggering stat given that the Jayhawks barely outrebounded their opponents heading into the game. …Lagerald Vick had 14 points, Devonte’ Graham had 11 with six boards and six assists and Mykhailiuk had 11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while helping defend Bagley. “Even though Malik scored a lot of points, I don’t think that anybody had a better game than Svi did,” Self said. … The Blue Devils were 7 of 29 on 3s.last_img read more

New proposal aims to improve drug harm assessment process

first_img Source:https://news.ncsu.edu/2018/08/improving-assessment-drug-risks/ Aug 20 2018A drug policy researcher is proposing a suite of changes to overhaul the Multi-Criteria Drug Harm Scale (MCDHS), which informs drug policies across Europe. The changes focus on addressing use and abuse separately, collecting input from a broader range of stakeholders, and targeting substance-specific experts for drug review panels.”The MCDHS, also known as the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis of Drug Harms, is a valuable tool that allows for informed decision making about substances that can have serious consequences for health and well-being on a national scale,” says Veljko Dubljevic, author of a paper describing the proposals. “But there is significant room for improvement.” Dubljevic is an assistant professor of ethics at North Carolina State University and an affiliate of NC State’s Science, Technology & Society program”My proposals would allow for a deeper assessment of the harms associated with substances such as opioids, cannabis, tobacco and stimulants,” Dubljevic says. “And this is an approach that I think the United States should adopt, rather than relying largely on industry-funded research.”The MCDHS has been around for about a decade, and draws on a panel of experts in psychiatry, pharmacology and addiction to rank a drug’s risk of causing harm in three areas: physical health effects, potential for dependence, and social harm. To date, the MCDHS has been used in the European Union, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway.The first of three changes Dubljevic is proposing to the MCDHS is to dissociate the harms of a drug’s use from the harms of its abuse.”The risks of drinking a glass of wine on the weekend are different from the risks associated with heavy drinking,” Dubljevic says. “The same is true for the proper use of a prescription drug versus chronic, off-label use. It’s important to assess the risks of drug use and drug abuse separately, and to give each drug two ratings: one for proper use and one for abuse.”Related StoriesDrugs designed with advanced computing technologies could help tackle hospital superbugsResearchers survey orthopedic providers to understand factors that drive opioid prescribing practicesBirth, child outcomes linked with maternal opioid use during pregnancyThe second proposal is to incorporate input from people on the front lines of drug use. Specifically, Dubljevic calls for panels to incorporate input from people who use drugs, pharmacists and general medical practitioners.”This local expertise can provide valuable perspectives that allow for a more robust understanding of a substance’s potential for addiction or social harms,” Dubljevic says.The third proposal is to eschew one-size-fits-all expert panels and instead form panels with substance-specific expertise.”For example, individuals with expertise in prescription opioids are likely not the same people with expertise in khat, a widely-used stimulant in eastern Africa and the Middle East,” Dubljevic says. It simply makes sense to convene different panels to ensure that the people with the relevant expertise are at the table.”The use of the MCDHS, regardless of whether my proposals are adopted, allows for more informed decision making by policymakers, with the potential for improving public health outcomes,” Dubljevic says. “That’s why I’d like to see the U.S. move toward incorporating the MCDHS into its drug evaluations.”For example, it’s probable that a more complete understanding of risks could boost efforts to develop ways of limiting a drug’s potential for abuse,” Dubljevic says. “One possibility, for instance, would be to encourage the development of more delayed-release pharmaceuticals, making it more difficult for the drugs to be used recreationally.”last_img read more