Massachusetts-based Market Basket hosts a job fair on Monday in response to employees protesting the firing of CEO Arthur Demoulas -- The company is looking to replace said employees. Plus, the VA reform bill crossing President Barack Obama's desk has a new benefit for veterans looking to attend college -- public universities receiving G.I. money must charge in-state tuition for all vets. So who wins and who loses in this new set-up? And municipal bonds are the sort-of boring financial tool that big institutional investors use to hedge their bets. But this week, the city of Denver is hoping to attract a totally different class of buyers for its bond sale. The city is selling $500 “mini-bonds" to state residents, as a way to get locals literally invested in the community.
The VA Reform Bill on its way to President Barack Obama's desk includes a benefit for vets who want to get a college degree. The benefit says public universities receiving GI Bill money must now give all veterans in-state tuition.
Right now, if a veteran wants to enroll in an out-of-state public college, Uncle Sam pays the in-state tuition while the veteran-turned-student has to pay any extra out-of-state fees. The new law, passed by Congress last week, means states will now have to swallow those extra costs, said Aaron Glantz, who covers Veterans Affairs for the Center for Investigative Reporting.
“The losers are those schools because they’re going to get less money,” Glatnz said. “But the big winners continue to be these giant publically traded for-profit schools.”
For-profit schools are winning in this equation because they're sucking in most of the GI Bill money by enrolling lots of veterans. Many of them are private schools, so if a veteran attends classes there, the university takes in up to $20,000 of taxpayer money in tuition.
The University of Phoenix has raked in nearly $1 billion of taxpayer money over the past five years this way.
However, not all state schools see the new law as a loser. Ross Bryant is a veteran and with the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He says veterans “bring a worldly view. They bring world leadership and when they graduate we hope they stay here in Nevada.”
States like Ohio and Nevada have already passed state laws doing exactly what this new law does. They’ve done it, in part, to lure skilled, educated workers to their state.
For three days, cities in northwest Ohio had told residents not to use city water, because it had been contaminated by toxins most likely produced by blooming algae in Lake Erie.
This week, thousands of people interested in all sorts of hacking are gathering in Nevada. They're headed to two conferences, Black Hat and Defcon, which are well known to the cybersecurity industry. But a thriving ecosystem of other meet-ups, tear downs, and other tech events are happening in Vegas as well.
One of the meetings this week is the Password Con, a two day event.
Sophos Cybersecurity expert Chester Wisniewski describes the event as, “kind of all the global minds in security coming together to figure out this authentication problem.”
There is arguably enough happening on that front for there to be a separate conference on passwords alone.
The audience at the conference, according to Wisniewski, is “nerds of every security stripe” — criminal hackers, government spies, security professionals, and ethical hackers.
He says privacy and mobile are at the top of mind this year — the hacker side of the community is very interested in maintaining privacy, especially in the face of the continuing to unfold NSA revelations.
Municipal bonds are the sort-of boring financial tool that big institutional investors use to hedge their bets. But this week, the city of Denver is hoping to attract a totally different class of buyers for its bond sale.
The city is selling $500 “mini-bonds" to state residents, as a way to get locals literally invested in the community.
It’s a simple pitch for investors: buy a few of these mini-bonds, and in 14 years you’re guaranteed to double your money. In the meantime, the city gets funds to renovate two cultural attractions and build a new recreation center.
The yield is higher than what the city offers on traditional bonds, but Denver’s Chief Financial Officer Cary Kennedy believes the extra expense is worth it to keep the money in the state.
“We’re willing to offer this to the citizens of Colorado because we want to give them that investment opportunity,” Kennedy says. “And we also want them to feel like they can support these critical infrastructure projects.”
The concept of mini-bonds has been around for a while, but they’re rarely issued by governments. That’s in part because they can be a real headache to administer.
Lynnette Kelly, executive director of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, says the back-office costs can be significant for the issuer. The customer service needs of thousands of individual small investors can add up to quite a headache.
“My mother, for example, had a lot of mini-bonds from a public power district,” Kelly says. “She had questions all the time. You know, 'Where’s my interest check?' And, 'I think I lost my mini-bond, what do I do now?' All of those basic everyday questions have to be handled and they have to be handled really well.”
Investors can now find the answers to a lot of those questions online, making mini-bonds easier to manage.
And Denver is certainly betting on their popularity. It hopes to sell $12 million in mini-bonds in just five days.