August is here and in Washington D.C. that means 100% humidity, a mass exodus to the beach, and Congressional Recess. As members of Congress are home for the summer meeting with constituents, we’re calling on you to raise a couple of issues with your Congressional Delegation. While it’s usually a quiet time of year, we’ll be busy knowing Congress will need to address some of the most important issues affecting the clean water community in only a few weeks: the proposed limitations on the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds and proposed cuts to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
- Threat to the Tax-Exempt Status of Municipal Bonds: The Obama Administration’s FY2014 Budget request included a proposal to implement a 28% benefit cap on tax-exempt municipal bond interest for high income taxpayers. A recent NACWA report with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) indicates that had the Administration’s 28% cap had been in place during 2012, it would have cost states and municipalities approximately $6 billion in additional expenses for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Congress is considering this proposal as they work to craft a FY2014 budget.
- Cuts to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF): The House Appropriations Committee passed its FY2014 Interior and EPA appropriations package in July, slashing the CWSRF from $1.2 billion to just $250 million. While the Senate appropriation package maintains funding for the CWSRF, the House’s proposed cut indicates that many in Congress are willing to step away from a longstanding federal-state-local partnership that has been critical in helping communities finance their clean water needs and comply with Clean Water Act requirements. While this is only the first step in Congress’ attempt to establish a FY2014 budget for the federal government, the House numbers are a wake-up call that the program may be in jeopardy.
NACWA will be working to ensure that tax-exempt municipal bonds and the CWSRF remain available to help communities fund and finance their clean water infrastructure improvements and meet the goals of the Clean Water Act. So this August, whether you’re at the beach or in the office, we hope you’ll join us in tackling the challenges ahead.
This post was authored by Hannah Mellman, who at the time, was NACWA's Manager of Legislation Affairs and Claire Moser who was NACWA’s Manager of Government & Public Affairs. Both have since left NACWA for other opportunities.