Cities Tell President, 'Go Local' in FY2016 Budget Proposal

Update: The White House released the FY2016 federal budget on February 2, 2015. You can view the documents in their entirety here.

Washington, D.C. - Before the FY2016 federal budget proposal was released, cities urged President Obama to increase investments in transportation infrastructure and preserve the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds.

"We urge President Obama to think about what cities and the people that cities serve need most as he prepares his FY2016 budget proposal," said National League of Cities (NLC) CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. "Cities need a strong federal partner committed to helping us build on the growing economic recovery in our communities through investments in key areas, including transportation infrastructure, education, broadband and public safety, as well as to the financing mechanisms that make these investments a reality. We were glad to hear the president reaffirm his commitment to upgrading our nation's transportation infrastructure in last week's State of the Union, and hope to see this commitment reflected in his FY2016 budget proposal.

"In his proposal, we urge the president to make investments in our nation's transportation infrastructure a priority. Resources to ensure our infrastructure is more efficient, which includes upgrading older systems and creating new modes like light rail and bus rapid transit, are essential to growing our local economies and creating jobs in our communities. With adequate funding and innovative financing solutions, thousands of workers can be hired and trained to carry out both immediate fixes and long-term road, bridge, transit and rail projects before a tragedy occurs.

"The tax-exempt status of municipal bonds must also be preserved in the FY2016 budget. Tax-exempt bonds spur local investment in infrastructure-three-quarters of all public infrastructure projects in the U.S. are built by states and localities and paid for with tax-exempt bonds. If the federal income tax exemption is eliminated or limited, states and localities will pay more to finance projects, leading to less infrastructure investment, fewer jobs and a greater tax burden on citizens.

"We are pleased that the president is examining new funding mechanisms like the Qualified Public Infrastructure Bond (QPIB) to support infrastructure growth and development. However, QPIBs must be in addition to and are no substitute for traditional tax-exempt municipal bonds, which must be preserved.

"We urge the president to carefully consider city priorities when presenting his FY2016 budget to Congress. We can't afford cuts in the critical areas that help our cities and their residents thrive."

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.