Sequestration of Build America Bond Credit Payments
Spending cuts (“sequestration”) triggered by the Budget Control Act of 2011 have reduced payments to state and local Build America Bond (BAB) issuers by $1.8 billion. The American Public Power Association (APPA or Association) estimates that an additional $2.2 billion in BAB payments will be cut under sequestration through 2029. Public power utilities issued more than $16 billion in BABs and have seen payment cuts totaling an estimated $162 million thus far, with another $194 million in cuts projected through 2029. Sequestration ignores Congress’s intent for BABs and reneges on what the federal government promised in partnership with state and local governments.
Preserving the Municipal Exemption from Federal Pole Attachment Regulations
Several times since 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has recommended that Congress eliminate the exemption public power utilities and rural electric cooperatives have from FCC regulation of pole attachments under the guise of facilitating broadband deployment. Since 2016, the FCC has opened four dockets that reflect its desire to regulate, either explicitly or implicitly, public power utility poles even though the Commission is barred from doing so under section 224 of the Communications Act. In June 2018, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced legislation that would effectively gut the
Municipal Bonds and Public Power
State and local governments use municipal bonds to finance public infrastructure investments that enable their communities to function and thrive. Tax-exempt municipal bonds have financed $2 trillion in new investments in infrastructure over the last decade, including $80 billion in new investments in electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. The American Public Power Association (APPA or Association) strongly believes Congress should look for ways to improve tax-exempt financing, including reinstating tax-exempt advance refunding bonds, increasing the small-issuer exception threshold from $10 million to $30 million, and simplifying “private-use rules.”