After Congress passed the most significant overhaul of the nation’s tax code in decades, lawmakers in high-tax states are preparing changes of their own.
Martin Z Braun
The final version of the tax bill struck by Congressional negotiators would continue to subsidize municipal bonds that help businesses to finance infrastructure projects such as airports and toll roads, dropping one provision that threatened to cut sales of tax-exempt debt by tens of billions of dollars starting next year.
In New York City’s pricey suburbs, it’s not just residents who will be squeezed by higher tax bills because of the Republican overhaul racing through Congress. Their towns may feel it, too.
Even before Hurricane Harvey dumped 50 inches of rain on Houston, damaging hundreds of thousands of homes and apartments, affordable housing was already scarce. Because of rising rents, more than 200,000 low-income residents were spending over half their earnings on someplace to live.
The majority leader in Connecticut’s Democrat-controlled House of Representatives said he “can’t envision any scenario" in which Hartford would seek to declare bankruptcy if a bipartisan budget that provides a financial lifeline to the capital city becomes law.
Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have expressed support for maintaining the tax break on municipal bonds. The market takes them at their word.
The hedge-fund enclave of Greenwich, on the Connecticut Gold Coast, is about 100 miles and a world away from the state capital.
San Juan’s gleaming commuter train seemed like a coup -- the kind of big-ticket item many U.S. cities can only dream of.
New York City’s public hospitals are in critical condition with rising costs and plummeting revenue. There’s no dispute about that diagnosis. The problem is with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed cure, according to health policy makers, hospital administrators and budget watchdogs.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has closed an eight-year exam of about $300 million of tax-exempt bonds issued for The Villages, one of the world’s largest retirement communities, without imposing a penalty, according to a filing by the development districts that issued the debt.
MainStay Investments is increasing the percentage of cash held in its municipal bond mutual funds as a hedge against the risk of investor redemptions if the outperforming tax-exempt market turns.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio described some hedge-fund managers as predators endangering Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million residents by demanding cuts in spending and services to ensure they’re paid in full on bonds purchased at cents on the dollar.
New York City’s second-most-powerful elected official called them vultures. What she and other critics didn’t say was that taxpayers and retirees entrust some of those hedge funds with some of the city’s $166 billion in pension assets.
While New York’s tabloids depict the mayor as a Robin Hood dispensing taxpayers’ cash to labor unions and the poor, he’s winning over Wall Street for his handling of the city’s purse.
The governors ensure that their substitute will run a harrowing political gantlet.
Lawmakers, transportation advocates and government watchdog groups have pressed for a housecleaning at the agency.