Federal Advocacy Update

In this issue:

Florida City Leaders Call on Congress to Preserve Transportation Funding, Municipal Bonds

Angelina Panettieri, 202.626.3196

City leaders meet at NLC's office during their visit to Washington

City leaders meet at NLC's office during their visit to Washington

This week, leaders from Florida cities visited Washington to call on Congress and the Administration to address matters important to local governments, including transportation funding, preservation of the tax exemption for municipal bonds, the proposed "Waters of the U.S." rule, and emergency management funds. Members of the Florida League of Cities' Federal Action Strike Team met with 18 congressional offices, as well as with representatives from the Administration.

If your city or state municipal league is planning an advocacy visit to Washington, contact NLC at advocacy@nlc.org to find out how we can support your efforts.

Obama 'Goes Local': How the FY2016 Budget Proposal Will Affect Your City

Federal Advocacy Staff

Last month in his State of the Union address, President Obama spoke about a number of initiatives to help the middle class grow and prosper in the years to come. In the $4 trillion budget the president released last week, he outlined proposals to achieve these goals - some of which "go local" by targeting new resources for investment in cities.

"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 infrastructure, education, housing, job training and public safety, in addition to the financing mechanisms that make these investments a reality. We applaud the president for 'going local' in his budget and making investments in these areas a priority," said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah.

With the president's action, the attention now shifts to Congress, which must now come up with its own spending plan to fund the federal government. The debate crosses this threshold just as thousands of city leaders are preparing to travel to Washington to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill regarding key legislative priorities for cities during the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference, March 7-11.

"E-fairness legislation like the Marketplace Fairness Act and a new transportation program are key tools that cities need in order to invest in infrastructure and grow local economies. With widespread bipartisan support for both initiatives, there is no excuse for further congressional inaction in 2015," said National League of Cities Executive Director Clarence Anthony.

"Passage of e-fairness legislation like MFA will help bring our sales taxes system into the 21st century by enabling local stores and online sellers to operate under the same rules. This long-overdue bill has received bipartisan support and wouldn't impose any new taxes - it would simply provide a mechanism for cities to collect the sales taxes already owed to them," said Anthony.

He continued, "We welcome the president's call for new transportation investments in his budget. We need Congress to do the same. Federal investment in local infrastructure creates local jobs and boosts our local economies. That is why we're calling for a new surface transportation program to include greater local decision-making in selecting which projects in our communities are funded."

In his budget, President Obama once again proposed to cap the tax exemption on municipal bonds, a proposal that the National League of Cities strongly opposes due to the important role that municipal bonds play in local infrastructure investment. In addition, the president proposed to eliminate the tax exemption altogether if the municipal bonds are used to finance sports facilities.

Despite opposition to this particular aspect of the president's proposal, Anthony concluded his statement by stating that "the National League of Cities and our members are eager to roll up our sleeves and get down to the hard work. We look forward to working with our federal partners to accomplish these goals."

Use the links below to read more about key investments for cities in the President's budget:

March 5: Webinar on NLC 2015 Advocacy Priorities, President's Budget

Angelina Panettieri, 202.626.3196

Register now to reserve your space for NLC's free webinar on NLC's federal advocacy for 2015. Find out what NLC's top legislative advocacy priorities are for the 114th Congress, how you can help advocate for those priorities, and get an update on the President's FY 2016 budget proposal.

Don't miss this chance to get up to speed on NLC's federal advocacy and get answers to your pressing advocacy questions. Register today:

2015 Advocacy: NLC's New Advocacy Agenda and the Federal Budget
Thursday, March 5
2:00PM EST

Supreme Court and Local Governments: Mid-Term 2014-2015
Carolyn Coleman, 202.626.3023

In addition to advocating for city priorities on Capitol Hill and within the Administration, NLC also protects local government interests in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court by filing amicus curiae briefs in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts. At the Supreme Court level, NLC partners with the State and Local Legal Center on these amicus efforts. The issues in cases before the Court this term have run the gamut from Fourth Amendment searches, to regulating power plant emissions, to limiting messages on license plates. For more on these cases and our position, click here for an in-depth summary of these cases the SLLC and NLC have participated in this term.

To learn more about how these cases could impact state and local governments, join the SLLC for a free webinar on Thursday, March 5 at 1:00PM EST. Discuss these cases and the Affordable Care Act case and the same-sex marriage cases with Jeff Wall, Sullivan & Cromwell, Lori Alvino McGill, Quinn Emanuel, and Richard Wolf of USA Today.

Register now to reserve your place:

Supreme Court Mid-Term Review
Thursday, March 5, 2015
1:00PM-2:30PM EST