Washington, D.C. – On the heels of President Trump reaching 100 days in office, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) President Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett will add his voice to the need for additional infrastructure investment and the preservation of the tax exemption on municipal bonds at events in the nation’s capital during Infrastructure Week (May 15-19).
On Wednesday, May 17, Mayor Cornett will join other local as well as state leaders at two events to emphasize the vital importance of protecting tax-exempt bonds as the key tool in supporting local infrastructure investment. In the morning, at 10 am, he will participate in a joint forum of the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities and The United States Conference of Mayors to discuss infrastructure investment and the pressing need to protect tax-exempt bonds. In the afternoon, at 2 pm, Mayor Cornett will join a “Big 7” state and local government organizations briefing on Capitol Hill, where he will further emphasize the importance of tax-exempt bonds for cities. See schedule below.
For more than a century, municipal bonds have enjoyed tax-exempt status and have been the primary method by which state and local governments finance public capital improvements, mostly infrastructure. These projects are engines of job creation and economic growth.
Over the last decade, tax-exempt municipal bonds have been used to finance critical infrastructure including the construction of schools, hospitals, airports, affordable housing, water and sewer facilities, public power and gas utilities, roads and public transit. According to USCM data, local and state governments financed nearly $1.7 trillion in infrastructure projects through tax-exempt municipal bonds from 2003 to 2012. In the absence of such financing, it would have cost cities up to $500 billion more—dramatically increasing the costs borne by taxpayers for critical infrastructure projects.
“As Congress discusses tax reform measures in the coming months, mayors across the country will fight to preserve the tax exemption on municipal bonds so that we can continue to repair crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, and schools,” said Mayor Cornett. “If Congress repeals the exemption, it will strangle infrastructure investment causing economic growth to slow, the elimination of hundreds of thousands of jobs and further deterioration of our national infrastructure. When mayors met with President-elect Trump this past December, he assured us that he supported maintaining the exemption. We were encouraged by that assurance and hope that this successful and irreplaceable financing mechanism remains in place.”
Throughout Infrastructure Week, Mayors will challenge Washington to accept the fact that Mayors work with the private sector and the federal government to build infrastructure projects from start to finish faster, with more cost efficiencies than other governments. To prove the point, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has released its “On Task, On Time, On Budget” report. The report features city infrastructure projects, including transportation, water, energy, ports and public buildings, citing their financial structures and the many benefits that resulted from them.
As a national infrastructure package is developed, this new report is intended to inform Administration and Congressional leaders on why more infrastructure dollars should be directed to mayors and other leaders who ensure that such projects are implemented more efficiently, with greater economic impact and timeliness.
Mayors participating in Infrastructure Week Activities in Washington, D.C.:
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, USCM President – “Built to Last: A Discussion on the Importance of Local Infrastructure Investment” | A joint forum of the National Association of Counties, National League of Cities and The United States Conference of Mayors where USCM President Mayor Mick Cornett will emphasize the vital importance of protecting tax-exempt bonds as the key tool in supporting local infrastructure investment | NACo Conference Center: 660 North Capitol Street, NW, Washington, DC (10:00 – 11:00 am)
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, USCM President – “State and Local Governments Drive America – A Discussion for the Future of Infrastructure Policy” | A “Big 7” state and local government organizations briefing where USCM President Mayor Mick Cornett will further emphasize the importance of protecting tax-exempt bonds for cities, counties and states | 2154 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC (2:00 – 3:15 pm)
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigeg – House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water and the Environment hearing on “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Improving Water Quality Through Integrated Planning” | 2167 Rayburn House Office Building | Washington, DC (10:00 am)