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Make Your Community's Voice Heard in Congress


Elizabeth Kellar represented ICMA at the May 9 Big 7 meeting with Senator Schumer

With all of the news coming out of White House this week, you might not be aware that the head of the US Census Bureau, John Thompson unexpectedly announced his resignation. This article from Vox highlights the possible consequences this resignation could have on local governments.

ICMA and the other Big 7 organizations (National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association, and the Council of State Governments) continue to work with Congress to ensure that their policy priorities are heard. The Big 7 executive directors were invited to a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) this past Tuesday.

The group briefed Schumer about the Big 7’s policy priorities, which include:

  • Preservation of the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds, the primary mechanism for the funding of state and local infrastructure.
  • Preservation of the deduction for state and local taxes on personal income tax filings. If eliminated, this would likely create more downward pressure on state and local income tax rates, constraining revenue-raising ability.
  • Direct federal investment in infrastructure.  An infrastructure package that focuses just on tax credits and streamlining the permitting process is not sufficient to make substantial progress.
  • Protecting the federal share for Medicaid funding.  Should Medicaid funding be reduced, the ripple effects on local governments would be significant and could reduce health care services for low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults  (particularly those in nursing homes), and individuals with disabilities. 

These are some of the top priorities for local governments.  ICMA members are encouraged to contact their congressional representatives to explain the tangible of these programs in their communities:

1. Help Save Community Development Block Grants

ICMA recently signed a letter urging Congress not to eliminate or reduce Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

In addition to contacting your representatives, share your photos of CDBG-funded projects on social media with the hashtag #SaveCDBG!

2. ICMA Urges Congress to Maintain Tax Status for Local Governments

ICMA joined with the Big 7 coalition in urging Congress to retain both the tax-exempt status for municipal bonds as well as the deductibility of state and local taxes in any comprehensive federal tax reform package.

We are encouraging our members to download and share the letter with your representatives and media contacts.

3. State, Local Governments Urge Congress to Preserve Tax Deduction, Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds

ICMA and the other organizations in the Big 7 coalition also released a statement as a follow-up to the letter on President Trump’s tax reform.

ICMA urges you to use the information in this post to help raise awareness of local government concerns. 

 

See also: ICMA Executive Director Marc Ott and other national organizations representing state and local officials, has written to House and Senate Appropriation members to urge them to support robust budgets for the FY 2017 and FY 2018 planning process for the 2020 Census. Read More.