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Advocacy

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!

Final Tax Bill Uncertain, Despite Media Reports
The Bond Buyer | Dec. 14
The final tax bill is likely to retain tax-exempt private activity bonds, which are used for multi- and single family housing, airports, water and sewer facilities, as well as nonprofit hospitals and universities. However Republicans are still negotiating PAB provisions, and they have considered eliminating smaller categories of PABs, like industrial development bonds and agricultural bonds. CDFA urges all stakeholders to call their representatives immediately, and ask them to preserve ALL private activity bonds.
GOP Under Pressure on Bond Issue in Tax Bill
The Hill | Dec. 12
Development finance advocates continue to lobby House Republicans on behalf of private activity bonds. CDFA continues to send offices examples of projects that use PABs.
Brady Signals Tax Bill May Ease Curbs on PABs
Bloomberg | Dec. 12
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has indicated that there's "agreement" that private activity bonds play an important role in economic development, but that they've "drifted far afield from their original mission."
Future of PABs Will Be Decided in Conference
The Bond Buyer | Dec. 7
The Senate's passage of its tax bill by a 51-49 vote leaves the fate of private activity bonds, which would be spared in the Senate bill but killed in the House measure, hanging in the balance.
Commentary: Senate Bill would Stymie Infrastructure Investments
The Bond Buyer | Dec. 6
Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, SC and Chair of the Municipal Bonds for America Coalition, argues that the elimination of PABs, NMTCs, HTCs, and other tools would undermine community and economic development efforts nationally
Senate Passes Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
National Law Review | Dec. 6
This article outlines the differences between the now passed Senate and House tax reform bills, as well as an overview of what a final bill may look like.
Tax Reform Provisions Have Local Govt's Wary
Crain's Cleveland Business | Dec. 4
The elimination of private activity bonds and tax-exempt advance refundings have many local governments leaders in Ohio concerned about their future.
Senate Tax Bill Could Add Anti-Stadium Bond Provision
Roll Call | Dec. 1
Sen. James Lankford offered an amendment to the Republican tax bill in the Senate to eliminate tax breaks for professional sports stadium construction, matching a provision in the House bill. CDFA's Tim Fisher is quoted in the piece.
Brady Open to Keeping PABs, Limiting Their Uses
The Bond Buyer | Dec. 1
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said that he might agree to preserve private activity bonds, while pushing for limits on their uses in upcoming negotiations over a final tax bill with the Senate. CDFA's Tim Fisher is quoted in the piece.
21 in House GOP Lobby for PABs, Advance Refundings
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 30
Twenty one House Republicans have sent a letter to the House and Senate GOP leaders urging them to preserve private activity bonds and advance refundings. The letter was initiated by Hultrgen at the urging of the Municipal Bonds for America coalition and CDFA.
Republicans in House Seek Protection for PABs, Advance Refundings
Reuters | Nov. 30
U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren, an Illinois Republican and co-chair of the Congressional Municipal Finance Caucus, said a letter he and 20 other Congressmen signed to object to the proposals was aimed at highlighting the value of tax-free debt issuance. CDFA's Tim Fisher is quoted in the piece.
21 House Republicans Urge Leadership to Protect PABs
Office of Rep. Randy Hultgren | Nov. 30
U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14), led 20 of his Republican colleagues in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to preserve the tax exempt status of private activity bonds in any tax reform legislation.
Fate of Special Purpose Districts Tied to Tax Bill
Builder | Nov. 29
Private activity bonds, often issued as a critical 'front end' incentive for special district projects, remain on the chopping block as the tax reform process progresses.
Senate Tax Bill May Be Used to Negotiate Final Measure
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 27
Lawmakers in the House and Senate may use a series of managers' amendments from Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch to negotiate changes to the tax bill that will ensure its passage by that chamber and then approval by the House.
Senate Republicans Face Hurdles in Getting Tax Bill Passed
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 21
Republicans in the Senate face some hurdles in getting their tax bill passed, such as Sen. Susan Collins' preference for keeping the federal deduction for state and local taxes.
MSRB Releases Overview of Tax Bills
MSRB | Nov. 21
The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board provides an overview of the municipal securities provisisions that are currently be considered in the House and Senate tax bills.
Lots of Noise in the Muni Market as Confusion, Concern Surround PABs, Refundings
Court Street Group Research | Nov. 20
George Friedlander of Court Street Group outlines the state of the tax reform debate, as well the projected impact of tax legislation on municipal finance.
Trump’s Vow to Fix U.S. Airports Is Hurt by Tax Bill
Bloomberg | Nov. 20
The ability of airports to finance improvements would be undone by the elimination of private activity bonds. CDFA President & CEO Toby Rittner is quoted in the piece.
Tax Bill Could Crush Private Bond Work
Bloomberg BNA | Nov. 17
The House GOP tax reform bill would repeal the tax-exempt status for qualified PABs, which could lead up to a 50 percent reduction in such projects and could lead to the loss of tens of thousands of low-income housing units. Tim Fisher of CDFA is quoted in the piece.
American Cities Stuck With Part of Tab for Republicans’ Tax Cuts
Bloomberg | Nov. 16
Congress's plan to cut taxes by more than $1 trillion sends part of the bill to America's states and cities. The proposed tax changes would likely result in higher interest costs for municipal borrowers and strain their budgets, according to S&P Global Ratings.
Tax Plan Faces Backlash over Repeal of Incentives
Washington Post | Nov. 16
The cuts to economic development tools made in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would undermine affordable housing efforts nationwide.
Muni Groups Pin Hopes on Senate
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 14
Municipal market participants have turned their attention to the Senate for a better outcome after the House voted 227 to 205, mostly along party lines, to pass a tax bill that would put an end to private activity bonds and advance refundings after this year.
CDFA Sends Letter to SFC Defending HTC
CDFA | Nov. 14
CDFA sent a letter to members of the Senate Finance Committee urging them to reject any provisions that curtail or eliminate the Historic Tax Credit.
Tax Bill Would Eliminate 1M Affordable Housing Units
Novogradac | Nov. 14
According to Novogradac & Company analysis, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would reduce the future supply of affordable rental housing by nearly one million units. 
Conduit Issuers Imagine World without PABs
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 14
Conduit issuer state that an inability to issue private activity bonds would cause them to disappear. Several CDFA members are quoted in the article.
Tax Bill Would Affect Veterans Seeking Homes
89.3 KPCC | Nov. 14
The elimination of private activity bonds would eliminate veteran mortgage bonds, among several other types of overlooked programs. CDFA's Tim Fisher is quoted in the piece.
Tax Advantaged Bond Provisions in Tax Bills
Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP | Nov. 13
The Hawkins Advisory describes provisions affecting tax-exempt bonds and tax credit bonds that are included in the House and Senate's tax bills.
Muni Market Relieved by Senate Plan
Reuters | Nov. 13
The U.S. Senate Republican tax bill will preserve Private Activity Bonds, settling the nerves of many in the industry. However, the bill still would eliminate advance refunding bonds. CDFA's Tim Fisher is quoted in the piece.
Senate Bill Saves PABs, but Eliminates Advance Refundings
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 10
The municipal bond market would fare better in the Senate Republicans' tax reform proposal released Thursday, which would preserve private activity bonds and even enhance them. But advance refundings would still be terminated after this year.
Opinion: Protect Infrastructure Finance in Tax Reform
Washington Examiner | Nov. 10
Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), co-chairs of the Municipal Finance Caucus, ask their colleagues in Congress to maintain the tax-exemption for private activity bonds.
Senate Introduces Chairman's Mark
Joint Committee on Taxation | Nov. 10
The U.S. Senate has introduced the Chairman's Mark of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Unlike the House version of the Act, the Senate version maintains the current tax as it relates to private activity bonds.
Tax Plan Could Curb US Infrastructure Investment
Financial Times | Nov. 10
Investment in US infrastructure could be one of the losers from the Republican tax plan, undercutting the Trump administration's aim of stimulating a new wave of construction led by the private sector.
Senate Tax Reform Retains LIHTC, PABs, HTC, and NMTC
Novogradac | Nov. 10
The Senate Finance Committee's new tax reform legislation is much better for affordable housing, community development, historic preservation, and renewable energy than the House tax reform legislation, which the Ways and Means Committee favorably reported to the full House.
Crain's: Here's One Thing Wrong with the House Tax Plan
Crain's Chicago Business | Nov. 9
Crain's Chicago Business cites higher future borrowing costs hampering Chicago's nonprofit building boom as reasons to maintain PABs. Chris Meister, Executive Director of IFA, states in the article that "it's irresponsible to abandon a tool that so effectively uses the discipline of the capital markets."
Amendment Fails to Save PABs
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 9
House Ways and Means Committee Republicans on Wednesday voted 24 to 16 along party lines against amendments by two Democrats to save advance refundings and private activity bonds from being terminated after this year.
CDFA Sends National Sign-On Letter to Congress
CDFA | Nov. 9
CDFA has sent a national sign-on letter with over 400 signatures to Congressional officials, urging them to preserve Private Activity Bonds.
Say Goodbye to Muni Deals Like These If Tax Bill Is Enacted
Bloomberg | Nov. 8
Of the $301 billion in long-term, fixed-rate municipal bonds sold so far this year, Bloomberg estimates that at least one-third would no longer be allowed, between advanced refundings, stadium bonds, private-activity bonds and tax-credit bonds.
Private Activity Bonds: Background, Uses and Restrictions
MBFA | Nov. 8
Municipal Bonds for America has published a simple two page overview on the Do's and Don'ts of what Private Activity Bonds finance.
Muni Groups Urge Lawmakers to Keep PABs
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 8
Municipal market groups including CDFA, the Public Finance Network, MBFA, and NABL have sent extensive sign-on letters to House and Senate leaders, urging them to spare advance refundings and private activity bonds.
Predicted Death Knell for PABs is Premature, Say Two Republicans
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 8
Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Jim Renacci (R-OH) acknowledge the benefits of PABs, suggesting future amendments to H.R. 1. Jim Renacci is an original cosponsor of the Modernizing American Manufacturing Bonds Act.
Market Commentary: Tax Reform Proposal Hammers Munis
Court Street Group Research | Nov. 7
George Friedlander of Court Street Group Research provides an in-depth analysis of both the direct and indirect effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Republican Lawmakers Quietly Lobby for PABs
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 7
While W&M Republicans rejected an amendment that would have maintained the current federal deduction for state and local taxes, they continued an internal debate on keeping tax-exempt private activity bonds.
Bipartisan Coalition of Lawmakers Fight for PABs
The Hill | Nov. 7
A bipartisan coalition of 150 Congressmen have sent a letter to House leadership advocating for PABs. Rep. Randy Hultgren, Chairman of the Municipal Finance Caucus, spearheaded the effort.
Eliminating Bonds Would Slash Affordable Housing
Affordable Housing Finance | Nov. 7
Eliminating private-activity bonds would devastate affordable housing across the country, as roughly half of all LIHTC developments utilize tax-exempt bonds and 4% credits.
Changes to Bond Rules in Tax Bill Could Shake Up Infrastructure Financing
Route Fifty | Nov. 7
The tax bill Republicans in the U.S. House are moving swiftly ahead with this week threatens to raise borrowing costs for health care facilities, affordable housing and other infrastructure projects involving states, local governments and nonprofit organizations.
Industry Groups Come Out Swinging to Save PABs
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 6
Supporters of tax-exempt private activity bonds have been working overtime since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was introduced in an effort to save PABs. CDFA's Tim Fisher is quoted in the article.
Federal Tax Reform: House Bill Rewrites Municipal Bond Rules
Ballard Spahr | Nov. 4
Ballard Spahr's Public Finance Group provide a detailed overview of how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would impact the municipal marketplace.
GOP Tax Plan Puts Billions in Muni Market Savings at Risk
Governing | Nov. 3
In a surprise move, the Republican tax plan released on Thursday contains a proposal that finance experts say would be devastating for governments trying to find money for economic development projects.
Commentary: Tax Tradeoffs Would Leave Muni Market Unrecognizable
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 3
John Hallacy of Bond Buyer offers his perspective on how the municipal industry will be affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Bloomberg Briefs: Administration Aims to Shrink Muni Market by One Third
Bloomberg | Nov. 3
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, if enacted, would mean shrinking the tax-exempt municipal market by between 25% and a third. The bill proposes terminating PABs, repealing the use of advance refunding bonds and tax-credit bonds, and prohibiting the sale of tax-exempts for professional sports stadiums.
First Draft Tax Reform Bill Eliminates Numerous Types of Bonds
Squire Patton Boggs | Nov. 3
Squire Patton Boggs provides an overview of how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would affect private activity bonds, advance refunding bonds, tax credit bonds, and governmental bonds for sports venues.
Muni Market Blindsided by Bond Provisions in House GOP Tax Plan
The Bond Buyer | Nov. 2
Municipal bond market participants and infrastructure advocates were stunned and unhappy on Wednesday when House Republicans released a tax bill that would terminate private activity bonds and advance refunding bonds after this year.
Republicans Push to End Muni Sales by Businesses, Stadiums
Bloomberg | Nov. 2
Congressional Republicans proposed barring the sale of municipal bonds for professional sports stadiums and privately run infrastructure projects such as toll roads and airports, a step that's at odds with President Donald Trump's push to increase funding for public works.

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-Policy Agenda

CDFA has crafted the following 2017 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:

Support American Manufacturing
Strengthening the American manufacturing sector is one policy proposal that has always received strong bipartisan support, and for good reason. Nine percent of America’s workforce is employed in manufacturing, equaling roughly 12 million Americans. Of equal importance is the tremendous multiplier effect manufacturing has on the rest of the economy; for every $1 spent on manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. Yet for an industry that has such an outsized role as a growth engine for the American economy, the tools available to support manufacturers are limited and, in many cases, outdated. CDFA is working with federal and legislative partners to bring manufacturing finance tools in line with the 21st century economy.

Policy Area 2:

Preserve and 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. Tax-exempt bonds have served as the primary financing mechanism for public infrastructure and have been exempt from federal tax – just as federal debt is exempt from state and local tax – for more than a century. Attempts to curb or repeal the municipal exemption would dramatically increase the cost of infrastructure projects to the detriment of the public who will have to bear those increases, and undermine the efforts of America’s state and local governments to move their communities forward.

Policy Area 3:

Catalyze Small Business and Entrepreneurial Expansion
Although large companies and multi-national corporations seem to dominate our national consciousness with news stories on major investments and the many high-profile commercial advertisements they generate, small business remains the backbone of the U.S. economy. Nearly 61 percent of all firms with paid employees have a staff of just four people or less, and 55 percent of all existing American jobs have been supported by small business since 1970. Additionally 61 percent of all net new jobs have been created in the small business sector. It is no exaggeration to say that small businesses in the U.S. carry a disproportionately large burden to employ the 149.5 million people in the labor force compared to large enterprises. Because of the vital role small business plays in the U.S. economy, CDFA will continue to work with federal and legislative partners to lower capital access barriers for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

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 rollout 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.

-Legislative & Federal News

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CDFA publishes the highly popular Legislative & Federal Affairs Update each month. This free newsletter features development finance news, resources, case studies and event information from Capitol Hill and within the federal government. The newsletter also features program overviews for three federal financing programs housed in the CDFA Federal Financing Clearinghouse.

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