Hultgren and Ruppersberger Launch Caucus to Promote Municipal Financing for Local Communities
Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) and Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02) announced the creation of the Municipal Finance Caucus to fight for state and local governments’ ability to independently finance projects to keep their communities strong.
“The survival and reinforcement of municipal finance is important to my district in Illinois, and to communities throughout the country. Local infrastructure and improvement projects help the creation of local, good-paying jobs for construction workers, engineers, pipe fitters, welders and more. At its heart, a municipal bond preserves federalism by allowing local communities to raise their own funds and carry out their own improvements without the help or intrusion of the federal government,” said Congressman Hultgren. “Over the last twenty years I have had the privilege of serving at the local, state and federal level, and saw first-hand how important preserving the strength of municipal finance options can be. This bipartisan caucus will ensure these issues get the attention they deserve in Congress.”
“Now is the time to be investing in infrastructure and the jobs it creates – not limit it,” said Congressman Ruppersberger. “Municipal bonds are the single most important tool in the country for financing new roads, schools, hospitals and more. I am excited to be a founding member of this bipartisan caucus to fight efforts to reduce and even eliminate the tax incentives associated with this common sense, job-creating tool.”
The purpose of the Municipal Finance Caucus is to act as a forum to discuss the opportunities and challenges for states and local governments to independently fund initiatives that will strengthen their communities, and to advocate for bipartisan policies that enhance their access to the capital markets. Key issues that merit strong consideration include: protecting the tax exempt status of municipal debt, understanding how financial regulations treat such debt, and ensuring there is a robust market for municipal securities.
Last year, Reps. Hultgren and Ruppersberger sent a bipartisan letter to House leadership in support of municipal finance. Joined by 122 of their colleagues (63 Democrats, 61 Republicans in total), the letter asked leadership to reject any proposal to cap or eliminate the deduction on tax-exempt municipal bonds used to finance the vast majority of infrastructure projects in America’s communities. They led a similar letter in the 113th Congress.
Congressman Hultgren, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has been a leader on additional municipal finance issues while serving in Congress. He introduced the Modernizing American Manufacturing Bonds Act (H.R. 2890) which expands the number of eligible projects using Industrial Development Bonds, which are tax-exempt securities issued by governmental entities to finance growth projects. Rep. Hultgren is an original cosponsor of H.R. 2209, which requires the appropriate Federal banking agencies to treat certain municipal obligations as level 2A liquid assets and which passed the House without objection in February.