COAH and Municipal Bonds
Hot topics remain on our municipal agenda. The recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision means the entire matter of COAH Affordable Housing Regulations are back, front and center, in Trenton. Municipalities, due to on-going litigation and lack of reasonable legislative actions, have gone for years without clear guidance regarding so-called “fair share” obligations and means of compliance. As such, housing trust funds have sat unexpended in municipal accounts, while precious dollars go to lawyers and planners. This stalemate has left towns in limbo, deprived our economy of available stimulus, and denied assistance to many of our low and middle class citizens in need.
Prior COAH requirements and methodologies have generally been over-reaching and often unworkable and illogical if not outright irrational. The Court decision provides an opportunity for groups and individuals to put aside their “passions” and “ideology”. It offers an opportunity to work together so that the Administration, legislators and municipal officials can craft an achievable, workable and rationale housing policy for the State of New Jersey and a means to move forward on this important goal. We hope everyone is willing to be a partner in a constructive realistic effort
Today with Federal government shut-downs, Washington, D.C. is again in commotion. And removal or limitation of the tax exempt status of municipal bonds by D.C. officials remains a highly endangered species. Despite the benefits of the exemption and the many costs and adverse impacts of limitation or elimination of the exemption, its continuation is threatened.
Under the federal tax code, investors do not pay income tax for interest earned on most municipal bonds. This allows state and local governments pay a lower interest rate on their borrowing than they would if the interest was taxable. Removal or limitation of this common sense way to keep taxes lower, while producing work for local businesses and jobs for our citizens, and modernizing critical infrastructure, will increase the costs of the these projects.
As a League, we have written regular updates to our Mayors, urging them to tell our
Senators and their Congressmen about the importance of this exemption. And we have worked closely with the National League of Cities, which created a coalition that includes the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Government Finance Officers Association, in a public awareness and lobbying campaign to protect the income tax exemption for interest earned on municipal bonds.
A new national lobbying effort has been undertaken to support the preservation of the tax exemption for interest earned on state and municipal bonds. For information about their advocacy efforts and their educational resources, visit http://act-now.us/info-center.
Maintaining the tax-exemption is essential to addressing national infrastructure
priorities, helping our national economy grow, creating jobs and serving the unique needs of each of our communities. We need your assistance to impress that fact on all who serve us in Washington.