Opinion: Groups make case for the muni bond

Comprehensive tax reform will most likely be a major issue for the 113th Congress. As we’re seeing from the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy, affected states, towns, counties, transit authorities, utilities and other government entities will have a significant amount of work to do repairing and rebuilding the physical infrastructure on which so many of our citizens depend. Beyond assistance from the federal government, which is needed and is greatly appreciated, state and local governments also need to find ways to address many of the costs associated with rebuilding public infrastructure, including tunnels, streets, bridges, schools, hospitals, housing, water facilities, buildings and other structures that have been destroyed or significantly damaged. Municipal bonds are the way in which these costs are traditionally financed. Hurricane Sandy offers policymakers a blunt reminder about the critical role of tax-exempt financing in rebuilding our communities and a painful warning to “do no harm” to this essential infrastructure financing tool. Curtailing the ability to issue municipal bonds would cause governments — and taxpayers — to pay more for their infrastructure needs. Municipal bonds are a tried-and-true vehicle that allows communities to meet the needs of their citizens. Repealing, replacing or limiting the tax-exemption on municipal bond interest would cause governments — and taxpayers — to pay more for their infrastructure needs. This would result in higher taxes and fees, which translates into less infrastructure investment, fewer jobs and higher costs to states and localities that are already under fiscal stress.



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