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Taxation

Bipartisan Bond Resolution Introduced in House to Gain Support for Munis

WASHINGTON — Reps. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Lee Terry, R-Neb., both former public officials, have introduced a resolution on the importance of municipal bonds to state and local governments that they hope will garner a lot of attention and support among House members.

The three-page resolution, which comes as lawmakers consider curbs to tax exemption to raise revenues for deficit reduction, celebrates 100 years of tax-exempt bonds and their “important contribution ... to the economic growth and well-being” of state and local governments.

The resolution states that three-quarters of all of the infrastructure investments in the nation have been financed with municipal bonds and that keeping infrastructure costs low “is critical for job creation.”

Neal is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee

He served on the Springfield, Mass., City Council in 1978 and was its president in 1979.

He also was major of Springfield from 1984 to 1988.

Terry served on the Omaha City Council from 1991 to 1998.

The resolution does not have to be adopted by Congress nor is it binding in any way.

But the sponsors want other lawmakers to sign onto it.

“I think it presents an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans alike to come together and show their support for one tool that’s helped build America over the last century,” said Steve Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, S.C.

Benjamin is an executive committee member of the coalition of issuers and other municipal market participants called Municipal Bonds for America.

He also is special counsel at the law firm of Parker Poe.

“This 100-year public-private partnership between states and the capital markets have worked well and to the benefit of the citizens we represent,” Benjamin said Thursday

He added: “I would urge all members of Congress to support this resolution. We believe it signals their support to rebuild America.”

Susan Collet, Bond Dealers of America’s senior vice president for government relations, said the resolution “affirms tax-exempt bonds as the mechanism of choice of state and local governments to finance their infrastructure.”

“This is going to allow grassroots organizations across the country to explain to their members of Congress why this is important and to ask their members of Congress to add their co-sponsorship to the resolution,” she said.

“This serves as a focal point for grass roots support across the country,” she added.

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