MPUA Urges Municipal Bond Support in DC
Friday, March 24, 2017
Posted by: Ewell Lawson
MPUA made its annual trip to the nation’s Capital this month and met with Missouri’s congressional delegation on municipal utility issues.
Nineteen municipal utility leaders from Carthage, Columbia, Hannibal, Independence, Kirkwood, Nixa, Rolla, and Springfield joined MPUA on the trip during the Public Power Rally hosted by the American Public Power Association, February 27 – March 1, 2017. Attendees included a mayor, city councilmen, a utility board member, utility general managers, utility attorneys, and government relations staff.
The group met with Senators McCaskill and Blunt; Congressmen Long, Smith, Graves; Congresswoman Hartzler; and staff from the offices of Congressmen Cleaver and Luetkemeyer. The main topic was on the availability of tax exempt bonds. Other issues discussed were cybersecurity, pole attachments, LIHEAP, and broadband services.
As the main topic was municipal bonds, the group urged federal lawmakers to avoid caps on or elimination of tax exemptions for municipal bonds that municipal utilities use to finance infrastructure projects. In the last decade, more than $2 trillion of new infrastructure investments by state and local governments and their entities were financed with municipal bonds. If the status of tax exempt municipal bonds is continued, it is estimated that another $2 trillion to $3 trillion in new infrastructure investments by states and localities and their entities will be financed during the next decade. This ultimately saves ratepayers and taxpayers billions in financing costs. With tax reform under consideration by the Trump administration and Congress, DC leaders need to be reminded of the importance of this financing tool.
In addition to the Hill visits, MPUA members participated in APPA meetings and presentations, including the APPA Legislative & Resolutions committee meeting in which the organization’s legislative positions are decided. Four resolutions were passed at the Rally, including support for maintaining the municipal exemption for pole attachments (MJMEUC and MAMU were sponsors), support of continued oversight of the Federal Power Act, support for continued tax exemption of municipal bonds, and supporting reform of the Endangered Species Act to make it more workable for all stakeholders.
Next year’s MPUA trip is scheduled for February 26-28, 2018. Registration begins in November 2017.