As part of its mission to be the nation’s leading advocate for responsible state treasury programs and related financial practices and policies, NAST furthers its federal relations and advocacy work through its headquarters in Washington, DC. The organization’s policy is guided by resolutions adopted by the membership. For a list of current resolutions, click here.
NAST’s Legislative Priorities for 2019 include:
UNCLAIMED SAVINGS BOND ACT of 2019
Since 1935, the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of the Public Debt has issued more than six billion savings bonds worth more than $600 billion. Approximately $24 billion in savings bonds have reached final maturity and ceased to pay interest. The Bureau does not have an active program to locate the bondholders and reunite them with the proceeds of their bonds. S.2417, the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2019, proposes to empower the states to act on behalf of the Bureau to find owners of matured unredeemed savings bonds and facilitate the payment of their claims.
In a bipartisan fashion, the co-chairs of the Municipal Finance Caucus introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to restore the tax-exemption for the advance refundings of municipal bonds. U.S. Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced the Investing in Our Communities Act on May 15, 2019. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the opportunity for these tax-exempt advance refundings to occur, which makes it more difficult for state and local governments to refinance their debt when interest rates are favorable, thus saving taxpayers money. NAST supports this bill and encourages action to promote its passage.To assist, NAST is providing an Advocacy and Outreach Toolkit to reach out to Congress and the media.
ABLE ACT: PROVIDING BENEFIT TO THE DISABLED COMMUNITY
Signed into law in 2014, the ABLE Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to include tax-exempt ABLE accounts for individuals with disabilities. On the 5th anniversary of passage, NAST supports the ABLE Age Adjustment Act to expand benefits by increasing the age-of-onset to 46 years of age. State treasurers and program administrators are working diligently to ensure that this new program benefits the disabled community in the manner intended. To assist, NAST is providing an Advocacy and Outreach Toolkit to reach out to Congress and the media.
TAX-EXEMPT MUNICIPAL BONDS: CRITICAL FOR INFRASTRUCTURE
Tax-exempt municipal bonds are the primary financing mechanisms for state and local infrastructure projects. If the current tax treatment is eliminated or capped, the payment burden to finance much needed infrastructure projects will shift to states and municipalities. Proposed changes would force state and local governments to curtail investments in critical infrastructure projects. NAST diligently monitors this issue on behalf of its members.
FINANCIAL LITERACY EDUCATION
Financial literacy programs enable individuals and families to make the best use of their financial resources at key points in life. State treasurers and their private sector partners are working diligently to provide education and hands-on training to teach Americans of all ages these critical skills.
COLLEGE SAVINGS PLANS: EXPANDING ACCESS TO COLLEGE
529 College Savings Plans are the primary tax advantaged way for families to save for college. As a part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, Congress and the Administration approved common sense legislation to make improvements to the 529 program. NAST and its affiliate, the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), continues to work with Congress to improve 529 plans as Congress considers other changes to the tax code and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in 2019.