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Lauren Kesselring, a second-year MPA student specializing in Public Financial Management, provides an update on the second day of the conference she is attending.

On the first day of Dr. Toma’s public economics class last spring she told us that we would look at the world differently after her class. After the two day introduction to municipal analysis conference I am already looking at the world differently. As I was on my way to the airport on a suspension bridge looking over a port seeing planes taking off and landing and they first thing I thought was that all of these are funded through different municipal bond offerings. Public finance touches every aspect of our daily lives, and if it is done well, the general public is generally unaware.

On the second day of the conference, I heard about what happens when public financing goes wrong. We started off the morning with pensions and how public pensions became so underfunded. I learned that when analysts look at pensions, they use a constant discount rate to compare across municipalities. We talked about chapter nine bankruptcies and all the work that happens behind the scenes between the government, banks, and investors to try to prevent bankruptcies. Hopefully state and government officials are getting a better grasp of pensions so there will not be an influx of chapter nine bankruptcies in the future.