The House and Senate both passed identical tax reform legislation, H.R. 1, that emerged from the joint conference committee this week. The President signed the bill today. The legislation preserves municipal bonds and commuter tax benefits, although there are new restrictions on both. The legislation also preserves private activity bonds. For more details on the legislation, please see our previous legislative alert here.
Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations
Wrapping up their work in 2017, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue funding the government until January 19, 2018. The legislation includes a provision that avoids mandatory spending cuts under the Pay-as-You-Go Act (PAYGO) of 2010. APTA raised this concern with congressional leadership in a December 15 letter.
Because the tax legislation increases the deficit, PAYGO requires automatic cuts to several programs, including Treasury Department subsidy payments to issuers of Build America Bonds. However, as noted, the CR waives the PAYGO cuts.
After passing the CR, Congress adjourned until January 3, 2018. Unfortunately, Congress has not yet reached a budget agreement that is necessary to raise the spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act. Until such an agreement is made, Congress will not move forward with full-year appropriations bills. APTA urges Congress to reach a bipartisan agreement as soon as possible and pass full-year appropriations legislation before the new January 19 deadline.
Additionally, the House passed a supplemental appropriations bill, H. R. 4667, for disaster assistance for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria which includes $269 million for the Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program. However, the Senate will not act on the bill until next year.
We would like to thank everyone who responded to our December 12 Legislative Alert and contacted your Senators to join a letter supporting Capital Investment Grants. With your help, 32 Senators signed the letter, and you can view it here.
Senate Finance Committee Introduces Tax Extender Legislation
APTA has consistently called for an extension of Alternative Fuels Tax Credit and the Alternative Fuels Property (Infrastructure) Credit, both of which expired on December 31, 2016. On Wednesday, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced legislation to extend several tax provisions, including both alternative fuels credits for 2017 (retroactive) and 2018. This bill will be considered when Congress resumes work on January 3. If this is important to you, APTA encourages you to contact your Members of Congress to pass this legislation.