NACo has released a timely “Summer Advocacy Toolkit” for use by county officials engaging on federal issues. Inside are links, quick summaries, and talking points on a wide range of topics relevant to county governments. Additionally, from the pdf document, users can search relevant committee membership to help target their messages.
A few quick selections from the NACo guide follow:
On Municipal Bonds:
• A fundamental feature of the first federal tax code written in 1913, tax-exempt financing is used by state and local
governments to raise capital to finance public capital improvements and other projects, including infrastructure
facilities that are vitally important to sustained economic growth.
• Between 2003 and 2012, counties, localities, states and state/local authorities financed $3.2 trillion in infrastructure
investment through tax-exempt municipal bonds.
• If municipal bonds were fully taxable during the 2003-2012 period, it is estimated that the financing for the 21 largest
infrastructure purposes would have cost state and local governments an additional $495 billion of interest expense. If
the 28 percent cap were in effect, the additional cost to state and local governments would have been approximately
• For 2012, the debt service burden for counties would have risen by $9 billion if municipal bonds were fully taxable over
the last 15 years and roughly $3.2 billion in the case of a 28 percent cap. Americans, as investors in municipal bonds
and as taxpayers securing the payment of municipal bonds, would have borne this burden.
• The municipal bond tax-exemption represents a fair allocation of the cost of projects between federal and state/local
levels of government. Through the use of tax-exempt municipal bonds, state and local governments invested 2.5 times
more in infrastructure than the federal government.
• Tax-exempt bonds are vital for infrastructure, justice and health needs because counties own and operate 45 percent
of public roads and highways, own almost a third of the nation’s transit systems and airports, own 961 hospitals,
manage 1,943 health departments and own the vast majority of the nation’s jails.
NACo believes that counties should be recognized as major owners of transportation infrastructure in any potential
package presented by the administration. Key funding and financing measures must include all of the following:
• Preservation of Tax-Exempt Status of Municipal Bonds
• Dedicated Funding for locally owned infrastructure
• Policies to provide an Environment for Innovative Financing
The Toolkit also includes direct links to other NACO resources, like this concise “one-pager” on State and Local Tax Deductibility (aka SALT).