The following memo was sent to C.A.S.H. from Bob Canavan regarding Tax Reform and Tax Extenders, QZABs: Rebuilding America’s Schools Act, School Facility Bills, Green Ribbon Schools, and CSF Washington Advocacy Trip June 24-26:
Congress is moving toward a Memorial Day Recess after all of the April and May work on the Federal Budget, Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee action on the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Impact Aid, and the start of the FY 2016 Appropriation process.
Tax Reform and Tax Extenders: Both the Ways and Means Committee and the Finance Committee having been dealing with trade issues and Fast-Track trade legislation this Spring. Discussions on tax reform continue in both Committees. There may be an effort on tax reform in both the Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committees after the Memorial Day recess during the summer session.
The Committees, while trying for tax reform, may also start looking at developing a tax extenders package including some permanent extensions. If tax reform gets bogged down this summer, the focus could shift to a tax extenders package starting with some of the permanent extensions for business provisions adopted by the House last year. Democrats will want to add extensions of tax breaks for low- and moderate-income families, such as the earned income tax credit. If the tax extenders package develops, the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program will be on the table. QZABs have been used efficiently by school districts in California and every state to renovate and repair, and modernize, schools since the program was first authorized in 1997.
Qualified Zone Academy Bonds: Work is on-going to extend the QZAB program, to make the QZAB program permanent and to include the Senate Finance Committee EXPIRE Act 2014 modification reducing the QZAB local contribution rate from 10% to 5 %.
Rebuilding America’s Schools Act: Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) are preparing to introduce the Rebuilding America’s Schools Act. The bill makes QZABS permanent with an authorization of $1.4 billion. Under the bill, QZABS can be used to construct, renovate or repair schools and other purposes, and the local match percent match is reduced to 5%.
Californians for School Facilities thanks Senators Brown and Stabenow and Congressman Rangel and will work with them during the CSF Washington, D.C. advocacy trip in June.
New School Facility Bills: Two school facility bills are being developed by Senators Schatz (D-HI) and Brown (D-OH).
- School Facility Fairness Act: Would provide competitive matching grants to school districts to help create modern, high quality schools. States would award funds to Local Education Areas (LEAs) for renovation, repair or construction of school facilities. Senator Schatz is preparing to introduce this bill.
- INSPIRES Act: The Inspiring New STEM Professionals by Investing in Renovation of Education Spaces (INSPIRES) Act would provide public schools and community colleges with funding for updating facilities to provide high-quality STEM and Career and Technical Education. Funding can be used for modernization, renovation, or repair of a facility used to improve the quality and availability of STEM or Career and Technical Education. Senators Schatz and Brown are the leading sponsors.
Californians for School Facilities will meet with staff of Senator Schatz and Brown to discuss working together as these new bills are introduced.
Green Ribbon Schools: On April 22 the Department of Education recognized 58 schools, 14 school districts and 9 post-secondary institutions. The schools, school districts, and colleges were honored for reducing their environmental impact, including energy use, waste and water, creating healthy learning environments and fostering wellness practices, and providing effective environmental education that prepares students to succeed in the 21st Century.
The Department of ED link for GRS is: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/awards.html
The following California schools were honored this year:
- Los Cerritos Elementary School (Long Beach, CA)
- Carmel Middle School (Carmel, CA)
- Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High (Los Angeles, CA)
- Marin Country Day School (Corte Madera, CA)
- El Monte Union High School District (El Monte, CA)
Californians for School Facilities (CSF) Spring Washington Advocacy Trip – June 24-26 – CSF will be having our annual Washington, D. C. lobbying trip on June 24 through 26, 2015, with June 24 as the travel day.
The timing is very good to lobby for Infrastructure funding, including Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, Qualified School Construction Bonds, permanent authorization for IRS Section 179 (d) Energy Efficiency credits, as well as other federal school facility issues that benefit California schools.
Please join our effort to build federal support to strengthen California school facilities. Register online at www.cal-schoolfacilities.org.
~ C.A.S.H. Staff