New U.S. tax law lessens federal historic tax credit, putting projects at risk

A federal tax incentive that “has helped revive more than 42,000 buildings” and “yielded about $30 billion in federal tax receipts” was “eroded” by the new U.S. tax law that President Donald Trump signed in December, Fox Business reports. The federal historic tax credit “provides reimbursement for 20% of certain costs” for renovations of historic buildings, but the tax-law changes mean the “payback is now spread over five years instead of one,” reducing its value to developers, according to the article. In Dayton, developer Cross Street Partners “rushed to complete long-term leases” on a project to “overhaul a long-vacant collection of buildings known as the Dayton Arcade” before the change took effect after the end of 2017. Senior development director David Williams said “the weakened version [of the incentive] could have threatened a carefully constructed financing plan that includes multiple tax incentives.” For more, read the full article

Federal Updates, Financial Incentives, Legal Developments

Conference agreement on tax reform: Private activity bonds, stadium bonds spared; Advance refundings and tax credit bonds axed

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was released on December 15, 2017. The Committee of Conference chose not to follow the House’s repeal of authorization for private activity bonds — a financing vehicle used to finance 501(c)(3) institutions, such as private universities and hospitals, as well as other projects, such as low-to-moderate income housing. Additionally, the prohibition on the use of tax exempt bonds for professional stadium financing was, likewise, not included in the TCJA, preserving that option for governmental issuers. Read more >>

Federal Updates, Financial Incentives, Legal Developments

Ohio legislature considers expansion of broadband service for underserved areas

Internet access has become a vital part of our everyday way of life. The ability to access the internet is critical for job searching, conducting government business, shopping, accessing important medical and financial information, and all levels of education. However, there are approximately 2.5 million Ohioans who lack access to reliable broadband service. In addition, nearly 90,000 businesses in Ohio do not have access to broadband internet. A recent Ohio State University study indicates that these underserved populations largely live in less populated rural regions where it is cost prohibitive for internet service providers to extend service. Read more >>

Legal Developments, Regional Updates, State Updates

Tax Reform’s Restrictions on Municipal Bonds

In the early morning hours of Saturday, December 2, 2017, the United States Senate, by a vote of 51-49, approved its version of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, commonly referred to as the Senate's tax bill. The Senate bill, unlike the House's version, does not repeal private activity bonds. However, the Senate bill contains the repeal of the authorization for advance refundings that first appeared in the Chairman's Mark. The Senate and House are expected to attempt to reconcile the two versions this week in order to produce a single piece of legislation that must pass both chambers of Congress before finding its way to the desk of President. Read more >>

 

Federal Updates, Legal Developments

House of Representatives and Senate Finance Committee pass Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, on November 16, 2017, by a vote of 227 to 205. The House bill continues to contain the repeal of private activity bonds and advance refundings. The Senate Finance Committee passed its version of tax reform hours later, 14-12. The Senate bill is silent on private activity bonds but contains the advance refunding repeal. The full Senate is expected to consider its version after Thanksgiving. Read more >>

Federal Updates, Legal Developments

Senate releases its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

On November 9, the Senate Finance Committee released the "Chairman's Mark," which is a summary of what the Senate's version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is expected to contain. Unlike the House's version of tax reform, the tax exemption for private activity bonds is not repealed. However, the repeal of authorization for advance refunding has been included in the Senate version. Especially with the appearance of the prohibition for advance refundings in both the House and Senates tax bills, modification of financing techniques that provide significant flexibility to governmental issuers and 501(c)(3) entities and help them take advantage of falling interest rates is likely on the horizon. Read more >>

Federal Updates, Legal Developments

H.R. 1 proposes significant limits on municipal bonds

On November 2, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee released its first draft of H.R. 1, known as the Tax Cuts and Job Act (the bill). If enacted in its current form, the bill would prohibit the use of a number of funding techniques that use tax exempt bonds. Specifically, the bill would no longer permit private activity bonds to be issued as tax exempt, would forbid the use of tax exempt advance refunding bonds, would eliminate tax credit bonds and would terminate tax exempt bonds for professional sports stadiums. Read more >>

Federal Updates, Legal Developments

Reversing stricter wind turbine setback rules could gain Ohio $2 billion

A recent American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) study shows that Ohio could gain billions in investments and thousands of jobs if wind turbine setbacks were reduced, Gongwer Ohio reports. Renewable energy advocates are urging the Senate “to reduce the wind turbine setback through the budget process,” according to the article. AWEA’s study “projected Ohio could gain $2 billion in capital investments, 13,000 jobs and more than $660 million in tax payments to local governments and schools” if setback requirements were reduced. Local government and economic development groups say 2014 legislation that increased wind turbine setback requirements from 550 feet to 1,125 feet “effectively killed new wind farm development” in the state. AWEA Deputy Director John Hensley said reversing that legislation could also bring in “$440 million in land lease payments to farmers and landowners over the next three decades,” and that “the economic benefit will just snowball from there.”

Legal Developments, Regional Updates, State Updates

HB 455: Attending port board meetings by teleconference

Some Ohio port authorities will soon be able to hold board meetings by telephone or video conference, thanks to legislation signed by Governor Kasich on January 4, 2017. Pursuant to Substitute House Bill 455, port authority boards of directors will be able to conduct their meetings by interactive video conference or teleconference if they meet certain requirements set forth in the bill. Among other things, a video or telephonic meeting must have a primary location that is open and accessible to the public. In addition, meeting materials must be distributed before the meeting, if available, or otherwise provided to the board during the meeting. This legislation represents a significant change to the open meeting requirements that are generally applicable to public bodies in Ohio. However, before utilizing the new authority, a port board will need to adopt rules implementing the authority according to requirements dictated by the statute. For example, the policy must provide that not more than one board member remotely attending a board meeting may be physically present in the same location. Substitute House Bill 455 is expected to take effect during the first week of February 2017. For more information, the see the full text of the bill. 

Legal Developments, Regional Updates, State Updates