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.
CDFA has crafted the following 2019 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:
Revitalize 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. Therefore, CDFA has proposed six updates to the Internal Revenue Code that would effectively modernize two categories of private activity bonds.
Read about the Modernizing Agricultural and Manufacturing Bonds Act
Policy Area 2:
Reduce Barriers to Clean Energy
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 3:
Support American Small Businesses
Small businesses in the U.S. carry a disproportionately large burden to employ American citizens than do large enterprises. According to the 2014 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, nearly 61 percent of all firms with paid employees have a staff of just 4 people or less. Additionally, since 1970, 55 percent of all existing American jobs have been supported by small business, and 61 percent of all net new jobs have been created in the small business sector. Unfortunately, many new businesses, particularly minority-owned businesses, struggle to access the affordable capital necessary to build a successful company. Additional federal resources are needed to improve capital access for small businesses.
Learn More about the Small Business Access to Capital Act of 2020
Policy Area 4:
Stabilize 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. Uncertainty has hurt the implementation and long-term effectiveness of federal assistance, and Congress must act to eliminate investor uncertainty.