Your History Does Not Define Your Destiny, Unless You’re A Bond

Sep 9, 2016

 

The Pittsburgh Pirates play the Cincinnati Reds in May 2012. The Pirates’ home field, PNC Park, was partly financed by bonds.
Credit Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

You know the old adage "Never judge a city by (just) its bond"? Or "Forgive and forget: bonds have histories, too"? No? How about that bumper sticker: "Reductive is as reductive does"?

OK, none of those are real.

While there may be a few "Bond, Municipal Bond" jokes floating around in finance circles (thank you, Parks and Recreation), bonds don't often merit a lot of chatter. But issuing or selling bonds is one of the primary tools municipal governments have to raise money for capital projects, such as refurbishing bridges or building parks. And a bond's — or a city's — past may unduly influence its future, says Justin Marlowe, a professor at the University of Washington's School of Public Policy and Governance.

"The bond market has a very long memory."

READ MORE Keystone Crossroads is a statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.