AAPA opposes port-related bill provisions

The trade group said that it was “particularly concerned” regarding a number of provisions in the House-passed bill (pictured is the US House of Representatives chamber) Photo: United States House of Representatives or Office of the Speaker of the House - speaker.gov and Speak Paul Ryan on Facebook/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain The trade group said that it was “particularly concerned” regarding a number of provisions in the House-passed bill (pictured is the US House of Representatives chamber) Photo: United States House of Representatives or Office of the Speaker of the House - speaker.gov and Speak Paul Ryan on Facebook/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has warned that the two versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill, which have been approved in the US House of Representatives and the Senate respectively, both include measures that would decrease or restrict “much-needed” tax support for American port investment.

In a press release, the trade group said that it was “particularly concerned” regarding a number of provisions in the House-passed bill – namely, the elimination of tax-exempt status for Private Activity Bonds and the repeal of the tax exemption for advanced refunding of bonds.

Both measures would seriously damage two important tools used to fund American port infrastructure, the AAPA said.

Additionally, the group said, the Senate bill also includes the latter provision, affecting issuers’ capacity to refinance these bonds at reduced rates.

According to AAPA, around 27% of the $451bn long-term, tax-exempt US municipal bonds were advance refunded in 2016 to benefit from lower rates.

The group also said that a rolling-back of wind energy production tax credits included in the House version of the bill would negatively impact investments in American wind energy projects and might threaten US port jobs.

Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and chief executive of the organisation, said that while AAPA applauded the US Congress and Administration’s intentions to simplify the US’ tax structure and motivate investments in the country’s economy, several tax changes in both versions of the legislation opposed those plans.

“AAPA supports maintaining the historic system of tax-exempt bonds and encourages these bonds to also be permanently exempt from the alternative minimum tax,” he explained.

“AAPA also opposes any rollback and supports a permanent extension of the existing wind energy production tax credit, which is set to expire in 2019.”

However, Mr Nagle said that AAPA was grateful to the Senate for removing a provision in its bill to introduce a new tax upon the cruise industry.

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