WASHINGTON – The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) today released the following statement on behalf of Democratic, Republican and Independent Mayors demanding Congress start over on tax reform and work with mayors on a new bill:

U.S. Conference of Mayors President and New Orleans (LA) Mayor Mitch Landrieu

“The United States Conference of Mayors supports a “no” vote on final passage of HR1—the House tax reform bill.  As written, the bill is an aggressive assault on cities and it will only further hurt our ability to grow the economy.  The position was affirmed by the bipartisan Executive Committee.

“In addition to attempts to repeal sales and income tax deductions, the House plan eliminates crucial economic development tools such as private activity bonds, historic preservation tax credits and new market tax credits which help state and local governments invest in housing, infrastructure, small business and overall economic growth.  The elimination of SALT and the repeal of these essential economic tools will in the long run increase the financial burden on working families, add to the federal deficit and stymie the economic growth Congress says we can expect.

“Democrats, Republicans, mayors and members of Congress can all agree that reforming our tax code is long overdue. Reform, however, should start with relief for middle class families that strengthens our local communities. Once again, Congress has failed this litmus test by giving even more to the wealthiest few, at the expense of our nurses, firefighters, and teachers. This bill won’t create jobs; instead it will put a massive strain on middle class families and local governments who’ll have to pick up the tab.

“We have the chance to reform our broken tax code but we have to get it right. Mayors across the nation urge members in both the House and Senate to abandon this bill and include mayors to create a bipartisan bill that invests in communities and creates jobs.”

USCM Vice President and Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin

“It is important for the public to know that this bill will impose a federal tax on their local tax dollars.  It will gut the economic development tools communities use to create jobs locally, and it will put hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in the pockets of the wealthy, while leaving crumbs for hard working Americans who live paycheck to paycheck.  The nation’s mayors cannot in good conscience support this bill. It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

USCM Past President and Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth Kautz

“It’s unclear what this so-called tax reform is trying to accomplish when we see that the deficit will be made trillions of dollars worse, while local governments and middle class taxpayers foot the bill for these tax cuts. The first objective of Congress should be to do no harm.  We are extremely concerned about the long term impacts of not only a repeal of SALT but other critical economic development tools.  Their elimination would be devastating to cities across the country and prevent mayors from being able to raise funds for essential public services.”

USCM Trustee and Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles

“The Tax and Jobs Act will impact every local municipality in the country. Cities, towns and counties use municipal bond tax exemptions and advance refunding bonds along with other tools to provide essential resources to our residents. This is a bold example of reaping federal revenue at the expense of local government. This is on top of limiting deductions for homeowners which can increases costs for families and cause home values to drop.”

 USCM Trustee and Dallas (TX) Mayor Mike Rawlings

“Growth in the United States is primarily coming from our cities. While it is important that we revise our tax code, it should not be on the backs of the people and cities that are providing that growth. Removing exemptions for important infrastructure tools is cutting our nose off to spite our face.”

USCM Trustee and Louisville (KY) Mayor Greg Fischer

“The rush by the House of Representatives to pass HR 1 will hurt citizens in Louisville and all throughout the country. Tax reform is needed, but I urge the House to reject HR1 and develop real tax reform that will protect our families and help advance our region’s economic growth for all.”