Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was filled with happiness. As we welcome the New Year, I’m pleased to announce some dynamic changes you’ll see in the next issue of County News. To help us tell the county story, we will debut a freshly redesigned publication that is consistent with NACo’s new brand and award-winning website.
We will continue to produce high-quality content and add new features designed to highlight the innovative leadership of our members. Articles will feature larger images, vivid colors and original illustrations to better engage readers. We’ll also launch a new online version with interactive features and a weekly e-mail, “CN Now,” which will include articles that appear in the County News print edition along with legislative updates, webinar and grant announcements, blog postings and other updates.
I look forward to an exciting year ahead as we continue to share why counties matter to those in our nation’s capital, our state legislatures and our local communities. The “counties matter” message is resonating on Capitol Hill, and our advocacy efforts this past year have resulted in several significant victories, including:
- passage of the FAST Act, landmark surface transportation legislation that supports local decision-making and secures federal investments of $3 billion for locally-owned infrastructure and $776 million for off-system bridges, which are primarily owned by counties and other local governments
- fighting unfunded federal mandates like the EPA’s “Waters of the of U.S.” and other uncompensated regulations related to the environment, justice, human services and county employees
- securing $452 million to fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program for more than 62 percent of the nation’s counties that have non-taxable federal land, and
- staving off constant threats to reduce or eliminate the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds, which have helped counties and other public entities over the past decade finance more than $3.7 trillion to build schools, hospitals, roads, public safety facilities and critical infrastructure.
Despite our wins, we continue to face major threats as well as opportunities when it comes to federal legislative and regulatory issues that impact counties. That’s why it’s very important that you join me at NACo’s Legislative Conference Feb. 20–24 in Washington, D.C.
Decisions in Washington may seem distant and unrelated to our work, but they have long-lasting and often costly impacts on counties’ ability to lead. We must deliver a strong message to leaders on Capitol Hill that federal policies matter to counties and counties matter to America.
If you haven’t already done so, register today at www.naco.org/leg.