NLC Building Support for Municipal Bonds

May 17, 2013

By Lars Etzkorn

Last week Congressmen Eric Swalwell (D-CA) signed onto a House resolution celebrating the history of municipal bonds, after being asked to do so by representatives of NLC's Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Local Officials during their joint Capitol Hill lobby day.

The resolution celebrates the history of municipal bonds, the 100-year precedent of the federal tax exemption for municipal bond interest, and the important contribution municipal bonds make to economic growth and well being in each state and municipality.

The resolution is seen as a barometer of support for traditional muni bonds by those on all sides of the issue.

"As we continue to mobilize support to preserve the tax exempt status of municipal bonds, please ask your House members to sign on as a co-sponsor of H. Res. 112," said NLC Executive Director Clarence Anthony. "So far, 57 House members have signed on - let's be sure to thank them."

"Equally important is expressing support for municipal bonds with your Senators," Anthony said. "The more support we can demonstrate for municipal bonds the harder it becomes for those looking to change the most important tool in the U.S. for financing investment in schools, roads, water and sewer systems, airports, bridges and other vital infrastructure as a part of a deficit reduction plan, a push for comprehensive tax reform, or as an offset for new spending."

Also last week, the Senate Finance Committee issued a white paper outlining federal tax reform options it may consider, including modifying or eliminating municipal bonds. While stating the ideas presented are not endorsed by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) or ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), they would significantly change existing law, and increase the cost for local taxpayers to fund public infrastructure - including highways, bridges, local streets, public transit, airports, water and sewer, general acute-care hospitals, primary and secondary schools, and jails.