As the nation prepares to go over the fiscal cliff, local leaders from The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), The National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) will gather at the National Press Club (NPC) on Wednesday, February 27 to explain the impact of across-the-board sequestration cuts on local communities and decry a move by the Obama Administration to hamstring financing for local infrastructure projects.
NLC Executive Director Clarence Anthony responded to today's White House announcement on infrastructure investment saying, "NLC remains very concerned about the White House-proposed national infrastructure bank. A poorly funded bank would be no substitute for municipal bonds. If infrastructure investments are to encourage job creation, there must be a robust municipal bond market."
With the nation's federal transportation law set to expire next year and funds running low, transportation made news last week in President Obama's State of the Union and a hearing on Capitol Hill. Incoming House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) held the first committee hearing of the new Congress and then in his annual address to Congress the President offered two proposals for urgent infrastructure repairs.
The drumbeat for federal action to enact federal immigration reform continued last week with the release of a White House draft of its immigration legislation proposal and a Senate hearing on the issue. Next month's Congressional City Conference will offer attendees to learn more about immigration through a federal agency round robin, general session speakers and a concurrent plenary on the topic.
NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor, Avondale, AZ, had an up close and personal view of President Obama's State of the Union address last week. She was one of a handful of individuals invited to sit through the address in the House chamber as a guest of the First Lady. Besides acknowledging the honor, she also praised the President for focusing the address on the need for federal action to help cities address key issues they are facing: the economy, jobs and immigration, all of which are top priorities for NLC.
Last week bipartisan legislation was introduced in both Houses of Congress to allow state and local governments to collect an estimated $23 billion in online sales taxes, thus ending the online sales tax 'break.' NLC calls on Congress to act on a fast tract for approval, after similar bills languished in past sessions of Congress.
On Thursday, February 14, over 70 key stakeholders gathered in Beaverton, Oregon for a “Revitalization Roundtable.” The city was the first stop in a planned 100-city tour to encourage federal collaboration with cities across the country.
City officials are invited to apply for a new, 16-month technical assistance initiative focused on improving education, work and family outcomes for black men and boys.
Last week, in a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Environment and Economy, Michael Sesma, Council Member from Gaithersburg, Maryland testified before Congress that the nation's water infrastructure is aging and that cities face a backlog of projects and funding challenges that were only made worse by the recent economic downturn.
Columnist Neal Peirce looks at where cities in the United States rank compared to cities around the world using a new tool called the "Gini Index," a scale economists use to measure income disparities.