Power Lines Blog

Tax reform: let’s keep up the fight for municipal bonds

Municipal Bonds

As the Administration pivots to tax reform, we are on high alert about maintaining the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds. Bonds are the primary tool our public power utility members use to finance new infrastructure. Eliminating or undercutting the tax-exempt status of these bonds would increase our borrowing costs, and that will be reflected in electric rates. In effect, it is a regressive tax. Public power has the ability to bring local policymakers to the Hill to personally lobby on this issue. We need to be able to do that, and on short notice.

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Six pieces of advice for women in energy and environment

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At the Annual Gala held by the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment, I reconnected with old friends, and had the opportunity to meet many women who I did not know. I shared six pieces of advice I have learned during my 37 years in DC, to help them avoid making the same mistakes I did! My deep thanks to WCEE for the honor of being named its 2017 Woman of the Year.

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Golden rule applies to public servants

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It has now become necessary to remind the public that FERC commissioners, state public utility commissioners and local governing bodies that regulate utilities have demanding jobs and deserve our respect. To contribute constructively to the processes of these regulatory bodies, individuals need to follow a few simple rules. Focus on the issues rather than the person(s); engage in a serious and thoughtful exchange of views via the appropriate forums; and avoid physical, verbal or emotional violence. Demonizing or implicitly threatening a public servant should have no place in public discourse.

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Legislative Rally and public power priorities

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The preservation of tax-exempt financing is the Association’s top legislative priority in 2017. We will actively engage on tax reform legislation, working to preserve the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds, which are key for public power infrastructure development. We will emphasize this and other priorities as our members visit elected officials during our 2017 Legislative Rally.

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Living the Wright Life in the Sonoran Desert

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It can be easy for CEOs to get so caught up in the day-to-day management issues that you forget the big issues or why you really do what you do. Having the chance to step back and see the larger picture — or even to see how a really creative mind can tackle design issues created by an austere desert environment — can recharge the brain and give you a fresh perspective.

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Back to our roots for a new look

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I mentioned that the American Public Power Association was getting a new look — one which would not result from me dyeing my hair. That window of opportunity passed for me years ago — when I started to go gray and decided to just stay with the “natural look!” Going natural is what we’ve done with our new brand. We went back to our roots (pun intended) in the community.

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Sliding home into the holiday season

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We have over 1,400 utility members, but each and every one is important to us, and we want to go into 2017 strong and unified. Tax reform promises to be high on the Congressional agenda come January, with the inevitable calls to repeal or weaken the tax-exempt status of bonds. I took this message on the road recently, speaking to the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and the Public Power Council in Portland. Thank you so much to all of public power for putting your trust in us through your membership. Enjoy the best this season has to give.

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