MBFA Hosts Muni Bonds Education Seminar & Fly-In With Congress and Staff of the NEC

Last week, the Municipal Bonds for America (MBFA) Coalition increased its advocacy efforts for the support of municipal finance and the tax exemption on Capitol Hill.  In addition to its annual educational seminar for Hill staff, the coalition also held discussions with staff at the National Economic Council (NEC), and hosted a fundraiser for Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts.

On Monday, September 24th, the MBFA Coalition held two educational seminars on Capitol Hill for House and Senate staff, and other interested parties on the importance of preserving the tax-exemption for municipal bonds. MBFA Executive Chair Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C., and current president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors presided over the events to highlight the benefits of the municipal bond market, the tax-exemption, and the importance to restore advanced refundings.

The seminar featured two panels of executives and practitioners ready to defend municipal bonds, including:

Panel I

  • Steve Benjamin, Mayor – Columbia, S.C. & MBFA Executive Chair
  • Kevin Burke, President & CEO – Airports Council International – North America
  • Clarence Anthony, CEO & Executive Director – National League of Cities
  • Alex Wallace, Head of Public Finance – U.S. Bank
  • John Godfrey, Senior Government Affairs Director – American Public Power Association

Panel II

  • Steve Winterstein, Managing Director & Chief Municipal Fixed Income Strategist – Wilmington Trust
  • Liz Clark, Senior Director of Federal Affairs – National Association of College and University Business Officers
  • Pat Luby, Senior Municipal Strategist – CreditSites
  • Matt Letourneau, Dulles District Supervisor – Loudon County, VA
  • Lisa Fedeli, Director of Capital Finance and Debt Management – Port of Portland, OR
  • Marc Farmer, General Manager – Clatskanie People’s Public Utility District, OR
  • Matt Posner, CEO – Impact Coalition

The panelists focused on the impact that municipal bonds play in our daily lives, the economic efficiency of the municipal exemption, and the important role that private activity bonds (PABs) and advance refundings play in America’s infrastructure investment.

MBFA Lobby Day and White House Meeting

In addition to holding the educational seminar, the MBFA coalition held over 40 meetings on Tuesday, September 25th, with key members of congress and their staffs that have influential voices on tax and infrastructure issues. Members of the MBFA’s Executive Committee and legislative task force also visited the Deputy Assistant to the President for Financial Policy for the National Economic Council (NEC) at the White House to advocate to maintain the current law status of the municipal bond tax-exemption and to restore advance refundings. The delegation highlighted that municipal bonds are the original public-private partnership and tax-exempt bonds are used for core local government infrastructure that is the foundation for our nation’s economy.

Fundraiser for Richard Neal (D-MA) – Ranking Member of the House Ways & Means Committee

The MBFA Coalition capped the two-day event with a fundraiser for Congressman Richard Neal who is projected to become the next Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee if his party recaptures majority control of the House this fall. A strong advocate for municipal bonds, the former mayor of Springfield, MA, reaffirmed his support of MBFA priorities for protecting the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds and the reinstatement of advance refundings.

Additional Information

Handouts from the seminar and Hill day featured the BDA’s recent release of the primer on municipal bond finance: The Municipal Bond Market: Building America’s Infrastructure.

  • You can view a copy of it online here.

AAPA Presents Testimony Before the Senate Finance Committee

Kurt Nagle, President and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), presented testimony before the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness on July 18, 2018. View a copy of the testimony here.

 

Congressman Randy Hultgren Leads Letter Sent to House and Senate Leadership Stressing Importance of Tax-Exempt Status of Advance Refundings

U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14), Co-Chair of the Congressional Municipal Finance Caucus, led 20 of his Republican colleagues in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to preserve the tax – exempt status of private activity bonds in any tax reform legislation. The letter stresses the importance of maintaining the tax-exempt status of advance refundings which allow state and local governments to maintain market interest rates through refinancing.

Mayor Benjamin Submitted Letter to Sen. Cardin on Amendment to Strike Advance Refunding Provision

Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, SC, and Chairman of the Municipal Bonds for America (MBFA) Coalition, submitted a letter showing support for Sen. Cardin’s amendment, which would strike the repeal of advance refunding bonds in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The MBFA is appreciative of the attention that is being paid to this very important issue that would impact state and local governments across the country and is pushing for further support for the amendment during the mark-up proceedings this week.

Mayor Benjamin to Sen. Cardin 11.14.17

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MBFA Letter to Senate Finance Chairman Hatch

The Municipal Bonds for America (MBFA) Coalition submitted a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and other members of the Senate Finance Committee to show its appreciation for protecting the underlying tax exempt status on municipal bonds, including private activity bonds (PABs). However, the Coalition strongly objected to the inclusion to deny tax exemption to advance refunding bonds.

MBFA Letter to Hatch and Senate Finance

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MBFA Submits Comment Letter on the Proposed IRS Political Subdivision Rule

On August 7th, the MBFA submitted a comment letter on the IRS’ proposed political subdivision rule, which is currently being reviewed per the requirements of Executive Order 13789 that requires the Secretary of the Treasury to review temporary, proposed, or final IRS regulations issued between January 1, 2016, and April 21, 2017 — the date of the executive order. The letter urges the Treasury to rewrite or repropose the rule as it will add undue complexity and confusion to Federal Tax law for purposes of tax-exempt municipal bonds.
Specifically, Executive Order 13789 instructs Treasury to submit a report to the President by September 18, 2017, to make recommendations for action on the identified regulations, which:
  • Impose an undue financial burden on U.S. taxpayers
  • Add undue complexity to the Federal Tax law
  • Exceed the statutory authority of the IRS
The proposed rule to redefine “political subdivision” was one of eight regulatory actions identified in the executive order for further review based on the criteria noted above.

Additional Information:

  • Treasury’s report on implementing Executive Order 13789 can be read here
  • MBFA’s May 2016 letter to the IRS on political subdivision can be read here

MBFA Submits Comment Letter to SFC Chair Hatch on Tax Reform

On Monday, July 17th, the MBFA Coalition submitted its comment letter and policy recommendations in response to Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) request for expert and stakeholder input on tax reform. The MBFA’s letter was endorsed by local Utah leaders including Mayor Ben McAdams (Salt Lake County) and Amy Rowland (Utah Director – National Development Council). Continue reading

385 Organizations Sign Letter to Save the Muni-Exemption

On February 21, 2017, the Municipal Bonds for America (MBFA) Coalition sent a new letter to the House and Senate Leaders, including House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee leaders, urging them to retain the current law status on municipal bonds as a part of their ongoing debate on comprehensive tax reform. The letter is signed by 385 organizations from across the United States, representing almost all 50 states. This letter brings continued attention to the value that municipal bonds provide as the strongest and most proven method of financing ongoing infrastructure needs for state and local governments and ultimately, the constituents of all Congressional representatives.

Specifically, the letter highlights:

•State and local governments have financed infrastructure and other community related projects using tax-exempt municipal bonds for over a century

•Reducing or eliminating the tax exemption for municipal bonds could raise infrastructure costs by 10 to 12 percent, with these costs being passed directly to taxpayers

•Preserving the current law status of municipal bonds is essential in rebuilding our nations economy and infrastructure

The letter will remain open for signatures at the MBFA website here.  As we continue to grow support and receive additional signatures on the letter, we will update the website with new numbers.

MBFA Sends Letter to Senate Finance Committee Tax Reform Working Group

The Municipal Bonds for America (MBFA) Coalition sent a letter to Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), the co-chairs of the Senate Finance Committee Community Development & Infrastructure tax reform working group. The working groups are in the process of gathering information to make recommendations on their group’s topic regarding tax reform to the full Senate Finance Committee. The MBFA wrote in strong support of the current law tax exemption for municipal bonds, discussing the benefits of bonds for state and local governments, community investment, and taxpayers.

MBFA Letter to Senate Finance Committee Tax Reform Working Group

An article in The Bond Buyer on the MBFA’s letter is available here.

MBFA Submits Statement to the Tax Reform Working Groups

Today the MBFA submitted a statement to the House Ways and Means tax reform working groups on Debt, Equity and Capital (Reps. Marchant (R-TX) and McDermott (D-WA)); Financial Services (Reps. Smith (R-NE) and Larson (D-CT)); and Charitable and Exempt Organizations (Reps. Reichert (R-WA) and Lewis (D-GA)).

Click here to view the statement.