July 14, 2020

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July 13, 2020

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Infrastructure – Stays In the USA (Please Help)

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s website, only products made with “all or virtually all” U.S. parts that are processed in the U.S. may bear the cherished Made in the USA label.   In addition, according to the FTC’s guidelines, products that include foreign parts, but that are assembled in the U.S., may bear an Assembled in the USA label.  Although the FTC does not appear to have guidelines on a Stays in the USA label, or a Comprises the USA label, we can think of at least one sort of item that might qualify – our country’s infrastructure – its roads, airports, hospitals, schools, and utilities. (And if we tried to print up labels to slap on all of those, we would need to add “labelmakers” to that list, too.)

It will not surprise you that this blog will then make what is for you, our readers, an obvious progression – in order to have solid infrastructure, however, we will need for the #1 financing tool for infrastructure – tax-exempt bonds – to be strong.  For more than a century, tax-exempt municipal bonds have provided a significant portion of all infrastructure financing.  Let’s keep it that way.  In an effort to nip in the bud any future flirtations with the idea of eliminating or taking a road-grader to tax-exempt bonds (if you need a reminder of what happened in the fall of 2017 click herehere or here), Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), who are the co-chairs of the Municipal Finance Caucus, drafted a letter to the House Committee on Ways and Means highlighting the benefits of tax-exempt municipal bonds.  There’s something for everyone in the letter (“an expression of fiscal federalism . . . freeing up resources for other needs. . . “), which is all of one page (clear ideas don’t require too many words, after all).  We ask that you (yes, you) contact your Congressional representatives and ask them to sign onto the letter and, if you are feeling ambitious, also ask them to consider joining (if they are not already a part of) the Municipal Finance Caucus.[1]

Letter to House Committee on Ways and Means

[1] Extra credit for artistic renderings of your favorite local infrastructure with the “Stays in the USA” label.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 28


About this Author

Mike Cullers Tax Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Cleveland, OH

Michael Cullers focuses his practice on matters involving tax-exempt bonds and state and local taxation. Michael has extensive experience in the tax aspects of state and local bond issues, including governmental use bonds, qualified 501(c)(3) bonds and other tax-exempt private activity bonds, such as airport financings, as well as tax-advantaged bonds, such as Build America Bonds and qualified school construction bonds. This experience includes private business use and private payment analyses; arbitrage issues in new money, refunding and multipurpose bond issues; multipurpose issue...

Robert Eidner Tax Attorney Squire Patton Boggs

Bob Eidnier focuses his practice on tax issues relating to public finance and tax credit structures. His experience includes representing clients before both the Appeals Office and the National Office of the IRS. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 1995 and Ohio Super Lawyers each year since 2004. In 2008 Bob was elected as a fellow into the American College of Bond Counsel.

Bob has extensive experience in structuring the tax aspects of state and local bond issues. This experience includes governmental use bonds and tax-exempt private activity bonds. He has particular experience in airport financings involving both governmental use and exempt facility airport bonds. His work also includes substantial involvement in a wide variety of qualified 501(c)(3) financings, including for health care, higher education and cultural institutions. Bob has special expertise in complex arbitrage matters, particularly those arising in innovative refunding transactions. His experience includes in-depth analysis of all forms of financial derivatives including swaps and similar financial products.

Bob has extensive experience in a variety of forms of public-private partnerships including stadium financings. Financings to which he has devoted substantial time include those for the Arizona Cardinals Football Stadium, Cleveland Browns Football Stadium and the District of Columbia Baseball Stadium. The bonds issued to finance these and other public-private partnership facilities involve complex allocations of multiple sources of funding including, in addition to bond proceeds, private contributions and issuer equity, as well as various forms of tax and non-tax revenues.

Bob also has substantial experience in the formation of complex structures involving corporations, partnerships and exempt organizations in the utilization of New Markets Tax Credits.

Bob is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL). He is a frequent speaker at the NABL Bond Attorneys’ Workshop, and serves as panel chair and member of its Steering Committee. He has also been a frequent speaker at the Cleveland Tax Institute, of which he served as chair in 2002. Bob has also served as the chair and spoken at the NABL Fundamentals Seminar, and has been a member of the faculty of the NABL Tax Seminar. He has served as the editor in chief of Federal Taxation of Municipal Bonds, published jointly by NABL and Lexis. Bob is registered as a certified public accountant in Ohio.

Senior Associate

Johnny Hutchinson focuses his practice on taxation. He has significant experience in tax issues relating to public finance. Johnny has devoted substantial time to all types of tax-advantaged state and local debt, including governmental financings and financings for 501(c)(3) health systems, colleges and universities throughout the country. He also has experience with private activity financings, including solid waste disposal and sewage facilities for large utilities and one of the nation’s largest waste management companies.

Cynthia Mog, Finance Attorney, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm
Senior Attorney

Cynthia Mog focuses her practice on federal income tax matters. She has experience working on corporate, partnership and real estate transactions including acquisitions, reorganizations, restructurings and tax-free exchanges. She has also been involved with IRS audits and tax-exempt financing transactions.

216 479 8357