Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., co-chairs of the Municipal Finance Caucus, introduced legislation Tuesday to restore the tax exemption for advance refunding bonds that was repealed in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
“States and local governments need flexibility for managing their finances so they can invest in infrastructure like roads, bridges, hospital, libraries and schools to support our communities,” Hultgren said in comments Tuesday before state treasurers at their legislative conference in Washington.
“In recent years, tax-exempt advance refunding bonds have saved Illinois taxpayers $80 million per year on average,” Hultgren said. “Given that interest rates are expected to increase, this tool is especially important to states and local governments responsibly planning for the future.”
Advance refunding bonds are a bond issuance used to pay off another outstanding bond.
President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal also expands the use of private activity bonds, which are tax-exempt bonds issued by or on behalf of local or state government to provide special financing benefits for qualified projects.
“We welcome the expansion of private activity bonds in the president’s infrastructure proposal, and we urge lawmakers to build on this by providing state treasurers with access to the diverse funding mechanisms needed to expedite these important investments,” said David Damschen, senior vice president for the National Association of State Treasurers and Utah State Treasurer. “We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to advance these critical goals.”
Beth Pearce, NAST president and Vermont state treasurer, added that “state and local governments finance more than 75% of all U.S. infrastructure projects, and while we are pleased to see that the proposal recognizes the importance of partnering with state and local governments, policymakers must ensure we have access to the funding mechanisms needed to execute this robust plan.”
As federal policymakers consider the administration’s infrastructure proposal, NAST is urging Congress to support tax-exempt financing — including maximizing the use of tax-exempt municipal bonds, private activity bonds and reinstating access to tax-exempt advance refunding bonds.