Looking Back at 2019.

Author:Belarmino, Michael

Learn about 2019's legislative priorities and advocacy efforts, exploring how unlocking municipal bond potential can help drive local investment; and GFOA's MiniMuni event.

As we approach 2020, it's time for GFOAs Federal Liaison Center --which organizes industry events, issues advocacy reports, and collaborates with partners that share GFOAs values--to take a look back at 2019 to see what the past year has brought us and where we might be heading in the future.

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND ADVOCACY EFFORTS Advance Refunding. A top priority for GFOA members, and vital to modernizing municipal finance tax law, GFOA has led the charge in restoring the ability for public issuers to advance refund municipal bonds. A fiscal tool made unavailable through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, we produced multiple research pieces in support of restoring advance refunding.

On May 15, 2019, the Investing in our Communities Act of 2019 (HR 2772) was introduced by members of the Municipal Finance Caucus, led by Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Steve Stivers (R-OH).

Bank Qualified Debt. Before the annual Congressional recess in August, Terry Sewell (D-AL) and Tom Reed (R-NY) introduced the Municipal Bond Market Support Act of 2019 (HR 3967), another important part of modernizing municipal finance. Through persistent canvassing and innovative advocacy, GFOA played a major role in the introduction of this legislation. GFOA supports HR 3967 and expanding the use of bank qualified debt by substantially raising the qualifying threshold for "small issuer" and setting that limit at the level of the individual borrower. By introducing this legislation, Congress has the chance to extend the benefits of the tax-exempt bonds to more small public issuers.

Policy Issues and Publications. In anticipation of another push for comprehensive infrastructure legislation, GFOA was ready with research and analysis that put our members' interests in the spotlight.

* Understanding Financing Options Used for Public Infrastructure details the importance of the municipal bond market and the power of federal tax exemption. The report details the critical role the municipal bond plays in both infrastructure development and the financial markets by examining capital project financing and market trends.

* Infrastructure Funding in the New Budget Environment attempts to explain the fiscal conditions that public finance officers navigate in relation to infrastructure policy. As federal...

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