On July 30, Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger
(D-Md.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) met with NACo and other members of the
broad coalition working to preserve the current tax exemption for municipal
bond interest. NACo Executive Director Matt Chase thanked the Congressmen for
their leadership on the House “Dear Colleague” letter on municipal bonds and
was joined by the Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Tom
Cochran, to lead a discussion on the next steps in this ongoing effort. The
Congressmen are considering either re-opening the letter for additional
signatures or starting a new letter.
If you have not, please remember to thank
your House members for signing the “Dear Colleague” letter in support of the
exemption for municipal bond interest. To see if
your Representative signed on, click here.
In a bit of breaking news, House Ways
and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) plans to move forward on a tax
reform bill before a potential showdown over raising the debt limit in
November. The Chairman is reportedly
expected to release his overall principles for tax reform after Labor Day and
intends on having draft legislation ready for markup in October.
In the Senate, earlier this month, Senate Finance
Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
engaged in a “blank slate” exercise as the next step in tax reform efforts in
the Senate. This approach essentially removed all provisions in the tax code,
including the exemption for municipal bond interest, and called for Senators to
make the case for specific provisions to be included in the code.
In the letter sent out to their colleagues, the two
leaders stressed the need to simplify the tax code, but recognized that some
provisions were important to keep. For
those that should be retained, they called for clear evidence that the
provision helps to either grow the economy, to make the tax code fairer, or to effectively
promote other important policy objectives.
The exercise generally received mixed reactions
from Senators, ranging from no response submitted to responses with just
general principles outlined. For a copy of the letter NACo sent to the Senators
urging them to support the tax exemption for municipal bond interest and the
current deductions for state and local taxes, click here. NACo also joined other state and local government associations in a
letter to the Senate. To view a copy, click here. Finally, NACo also worked
with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities to organize a
broad coalition letter to Senators. For a copy of that letter, click here.
currently scheduled to leave for the August recess beginning August 5 through
September. As members travel home, the recess will provide
a prime opportunity to reach out and schedule appointments and project tours
with members and their staff to talk about the crucial importance of municipal
bonds to your local communities.
NACo urges counties not to just tell
members about the importance of tax-exempt municipal bonds, but to show them! Taking members and their staff on tours of facilities or projects
funded completely or in part by municipal bonds is one of the best ways to
communicate their importance. These
meetings are particularly important if your Member of Congress serves on Senate Finance or House Ways and Means.
If you want to show the Members of Congress the
impact of changes to the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds in your county
and your state, please feel free to utilize the various resources NACo has
developed on municipal bonds found here. In particular, please note that NACo has prepared individualized
profiles with the cost estimates for each state and 45 counties that you can
find here and here. If your county is not among the initially surveyed 45 counties, and
you would like to have your county cost profiled, please contact NACo’s
research team at email@example.com and provide your 2012 interest payment on your tax-exempt municipal
While speaking with House members over
the recess, counties should also urge them to co-sponsor the Terry/Neal
resolution (H. Res. 112) supporting municipal bonds. H. Res. 112, introduced by Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Richard Neal
(D-Mass.), celebrates the history and importance of municipal bonds and the
role they have played in developing the infrastructure of our nation. Click here to see the current list of co-sponsors.
your Members would like to sign on to the Terry/Neal resolution, have their
staff contact either A.T. Johnston in Rep. Terry’s office (firstname.lastname@example.org or
202.225.4155)or Ann Jablon in Rep. Neal’s office (email@example.com or
For additional questions on how to engage your members over
the August recess, please contact the NACo Legislative Affairs Department at
202.942.4254. Remember to
also invite the Member’s Washington, D.C. staff including their legislative
director and chief of staff!
Mike Belarmino firstname.lastname@example.org 202.942.4254