CDFA is the voice of development finance on Capitol Hill and with the federal Administration and provides leadership on policy decisions that impact the industry. CDFA is a non-partisan, non-political institution that supports sound public policy and the leadership involved in making important decisions affecting development finance. Each year CDFA produces a Policy Agenda and works with legislators and federal officials to advance these initiatives. In addition, CDFA holds briefings, trainings and advises legislative and federal stakeholders on numerous topics.
-Advocacy Update - Happening Now!
CDFA has crafted the following 2018 Policy Agenda. Click on the individual Policy Areas to learn more about each initiative. View and download a printable version of the Policy Agenda here.
Policy Area 1:
Pass the Modernizing American Manufacturing Bonds Act
Qualified Small Issue Manufacturing Bonds, also known as Industrial Development Bonds (IDBs), are a type of Private Activity Bond (PAB) that allows the public sector to pass considerable interest rate reductions on to private companies through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds in the capital markets. Unfortunately, the last substantive improvements to the rules governing the usage of IDBs occurred in 1986, and the lack of reform has caused stagnation and decline in the bond finance industry. The Modernizing American Manufacturing Bonds Act (MAMBA) would dramatically improve the functionality of IDBs, and CDFA recommends Congress act immediately to pass this important legislation.
Policy Area 2:
Strengthen Tax-Exempt Bonds
Tax-exempt bonds are a federally authorized development finance tool that helps stimulate public and private investment in a wide variety of economic sectors. Three-quarters of the total United States investment in infrastructure is accomplished with tax-exempt bonds, which are issued by over 50,000 state and local governments and authorities, representing a $3 trillion dollar industry. Yet for an industry that plays such a significant role in U.S. economic development, the rules governing tax-exempt bonds are largely the same as the rules established over 30 years ago through the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Several tax-exempt bond categories would benefit enormously from legislative reforms that take into account the advanced state of the American economy, as well as the current challenges state and local governments face in funding public infrastructure improvements.
Policy Area 3:
Reauthorize and Fund the State Small Business Credit Initiative
The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) was a phenomenally successful federal financing program that delivered flexible, affordable capital to small businesses around the country. Unfortunately the SSBCI Program expired in 2017, leaving a void in the marketplace for affordable small business loans. Congress must act immediately to ensure that small businesses with limited access to capital are able to receive the financial support needed to thrive in an increasingly competitive, global marketplace.
Policy Area 4:
Reduce Barriers to Clean Energy through Credit Enhancement
For much of the past 15 years, the growth in the clean energy industry has relied on the provision of grants, incentives, rebates, policy initiatives, and technical support from state clean energy programs. The federal government has also invested heavily in the clean energy sector, with loans, grants, and other subsidies for energy development made available through 10 different federal agencies. While public funds have been essential in creating a market for clean energy production, the continued growth of this sector will be limited as long as it relies primarily on public subsidies. A more integrated approach is required; one that continues the important public role of providing incentives and technical support for the adoption of clean energy technologies, while at the same time providing public financial support in the form of credit enhancement to leverage private capital.
Policy Area 5:
Reform and Bolster Infrastructure Financing Tools
In their 2013 Report Card, the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the United States a D+ for the poor overall condition of its infrastructure. The ASCE analysis of American infrastructure evaluated drinking and wastewater infrastructure, aviation networks, highways, bridges, ports, levees, and railways. CDFA recommends that the Administration and Congress focus on improving the delivery method of existing federal infrastructure finance programs, expedite the roll out of authorized programs that will encourage public-private partnerships, and push for the approval of several small legal and tax code reforms that would unlock significant capital for infrastructure projects and redevelopment.
Policy Area 6:
Stabilize and Improve the Federal Financing Delivery System
Access to federal capital is critical and extremely beneficial to state and local government and private sector investment in economic development projects. Access to capital is paramount to leveraging private capital as shown by dozens of creative federal programs aimed at encouraging private sector investment. Nonetheless, both the public and private sector have struggled with the use and engagement of federal resources due to the lack of predictability and reliability of the programs offered by the federal government. This uncertainty had hurt the implementation and long-term effectiveness of this assistance.