Celebrating Our 30th Anniversary and the Relaunch of Our Website

This spring, Merritt Research Services marks the 30th anniversary year of its founding as a subscription-based data service. Initially launched at the 1986 National Federation of Municipal Analysts' national conference by the investment management firm, Van Kampen Merritt, The Merritt System, as it was called at that time, was created as a first-of-its kind, turnkey software database tool. Designed to run on early generation personal computers, data searches and reports often required hours to complete versus the seconds it takes today. In 1996, Van Kampen teamed up with Investortools to host...

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Category: Merritt Data

Assessing the Credit Quality of America's Cities - Part One: Focus on Bond Ratings

How close to the fiscal distress edge are America's cities? In order to address that question, Merritt Research Services, LLC conducted a comprehensive statistical analysis of important factors and benchmarks that portray the most serious challenges to the fiscal health of America's cities now and in the future. The first article in an installment series entitled, Assessing the Credit Quality of America's Cities, Part One: Focus on Bond Ratings, examines the financial health of cities against a backdrop of high ratings issued by the three major credit rating agencies. Do city bond ratings...

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Category: Report, Merritt Data

Assessing the Credit Quality of America's Cities - Part Two: The Achilles Heel to the Fiscal Condition of Cities - Public Pensions

"Governmental credit quality is a byproduct of both the underlying economy and the cumulative decisions made by officials and citizens over time. The potential for severe strain tends to increase when both the economy and fiscal management break down, which can become even more likely if huge governmental liabilities loom in the backdrop." The second installment of the series, Assessing the Credit Quality of America's Cities, examines The Achilles Heel to the Fiscal Condition of Cities - Public Pensions. Using Merritt data derived from city Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, this...

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Category: Report, Merritt Data

Metro Crime Statistics Added to CreditScope

CreditScope users who have completed a system update should be able to view a selection of Metro and State FBI crime statistics for all general obligation and revenue bond credits covered by Merritt Research. National, Region, Region Division, and State FBI data is available for all credits in CreditScope. Metro FBI data will be available for credits where the feature ID links to a medium-sized to larger metro area. To find crime data: Click on the Demographics button on the Credit Detail Screen.

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Category: CreditScope, Demographics, Merritt Data

Gini Index of Income Inequality

Merritt has added a new demographic field to the database, the Gini Index. The Gini Index is a measure of inequality in the distribution of household income that was developed by Italian statistician Corrado Gini. According to the American Community Survey and Puerto Rico Community Survey 2012 Subject Definitions, "The Gini ranges from zero (perfect equality) to one (perfect inequality), and it is calculated by measuring the difference between a diagonal line (the purely proportionate distribution) and the distribution of actual values (a Lorenz curve)." Therefore, an index of zero would...

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Category: CreditScope, Demographics, Merritt Data

How Soon Are Demographic Releases Applied to CreditScope?

Demographic data within CreditScope is obtained from three federal governmental agencies: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the U.S. Census Bureau. With the release of new updates almost weekly, Merritt is continuously updating demographic data so that it is as up-to-date as possible. In some cases, updates can take longer to implement, which leads to the question: "How soon do demographic releases get applied to Credit Scope?" The most frequent updates come from the BLS. These updates are generally released on a weekly basis,...

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Category: CreditScope, Demographics, Merritt Data

What Type of Credits are Included in the Standard Credit Universe?

Clients often ask about the type of credits included in the "Standard Credit Universe." For a detailed explanation, open your CreditScope program. On the Task Bar located on the left side of your screen, highlight "CreditScope." Below that, select the first heading that is bolded with a small triangle pointed to the right. A list of sectors will be displayed. The sector names notated with an asterisk are considered current Merritt Sectors and thus contain the credits included in the Standard Credit Universe. Credits which fall within Sectors not notated by an asterisk can often be made...

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Category: CreditScope, Merritt Data

On What Basis Are You Accounting for That? Part Six: Regulatory Basis of Accounting

A reporting entity uses the regulatory basis of accounting when the entity is subject to a governmental regulatory agency's jurisdiction. The regulatory basis of accounting is a comprehensive basis of accounting other than accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. Regulatory basis accounting rules and guidelines vary from one regulatory agency to another. The regulatory basis of accounting is used in about four percent of the City, County and School District credits in CreditScope. The majority of the regulatory basis of accounting credits in CreditScope are put in...

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Category: Accounting

Merritt Enhances Pension Data Provided in CreditScope

Merritt Research Services recently added the following fields to CreditScope for Pension Data and will be providing data on these fields respectively: Total Percent Contributed of ARC for all pension plans in the City, County, School District, Special District and State sectors. Total Participants in each Pension Plan with the following breakout: Employee Participants, Retiree & Beneficiary Participants and Terminated Employee Participants, along with the ratio "% Retiree Participants". The Participants will be provided for single employer pension plans in the City, County, School...

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Category: CreditScope, Merritt Data

Revised and Improved Taxpayers Data

Merritt Research Services recently enhanced the "Taxpayers" data available in CreditScope. We now have the ability to provide data for more than one year for the Top Ten Taxpayers. The user has the option to view the Top Ten Taxpayers by clicking on Taxpayers to see data for all years of Top Ten Taxpayers or clicking on the hyperlink "Most Recent Taxpayer Summary" which will only show data for the most recent year. The Top Ten Taxpayers data will be stored under "Taxpayer" in the Credit Detail Screen. With this revision, Merritt will begin to provide historical data for Taxpayers in the...

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Category: CreditScope, Merritt Data

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