I notice that in the United States, there seem to be three main kinds of bonds: "government bonds", meaning those issued by the United States Treasury, "municipal bonds" issued by municipalities, like towns and schools, and corporate bonds. Municipal bonds seem to often have some kind of tax advantage.

However, in this mix, where do state bonds fit in? For example, if the State of Minnesota issues a bond is that considered a "municipal" bond? If so, I don't get the terminology because Minnesota is a state, not a municipality.

1 Answer 1


Yes, they are municipal bonds. The main distinction between them and "government" bonds is that the latter can be satisfied by "printing money", making default much less likely.

From Wikipedia:

Potential issuers of municipal bonds include states, cities, counties, redevelopment agencies, special-purpose districts, school districts, public utility districts, publicly owned airports and seaports, and other governmental entities (or group of governments) at or below the state level having more than a de minimis amount of one of the three sovereign powers: the power of taxation, the power of eminent domain or the police power.

The term "municipal" is likely used because bonds from true municipalities are much more common than from states, and there's no real need to distinguish them.

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