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Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnerships (P3s)

WHEREAS:

            Annual investment in highways, public transit, water and sewer systems, airports, ports and school buildings are tens of billions of dollars short of what is required to meet our nation’s needs; and

WHEREAS:

            Congress is presently considering surface transportation financing legislation and other infrastructure finance proposals, including an infrastructure bank; and

WHEREAS:

            These proposals and similar proposals at the state and local levels encourage public-private partnerships; and

WHEREAS:

            Current laws do not sufficiently protect the jobs, wages, benefits, collective bargaining rights and working conditions of workers when a public-private partnership is used for public infrastructure; and

WHEREAS:

            Public employee pension funds are exploring investments in public infrastructure because of long-term, stable cash flows, which complement their benefit obligations; and

WHEREAS:

            Municipal tax-exempt debt is a critical source of federal support for financing the nation’s public sector infrastructure; and

WHEREAS:

            Taxable municipal bonds, such as Build America Bonds and President Obama’s proposed America Fast Forward bonds, that provide a direct federal interest subsidy to the public issuer, rather than providing an interest tax exemption to the investor, will expand the scope of infrastructure investors to include pension funds and others that receive no advantage from tax-exempt offerings.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME support infrastructure funding initiatives that:

  • provide for the improvement of existing, and construction of new, infrastructure that will be designed, inspected, operated and maintained by public entities and public employees;
  • strengthen the economic, fiscal and environmental health of America’s metropolitan areas; and
  • ensure that investments in rebuilding America’s infrastructure do not come at the expense of the workers who presently keep it working; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME oppose funding initiatives that:

  • subsidize or otherwise encourage the sale or lease of public infrastructure to private investors; or
  • subsidize or otherwise encourage public-private partnerships that will result in private control or operation of public assets; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME encourage our members’ pension funds to make diversified, direct investments in public infrastructure and to adopt investment policies that are based on these principles; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME oppose the elimination of the interest tax exemption of traditional municipal bonds and advocate for the reinstatement of a permanent Build America Bonds type program to offer public agencies new infrastructure financing options that will appeal to pension funds and other tax-exempt investors while offering the public owners an alternative to more costly private finance.

SUBMITTED BY:
Peter Stein, President and Delegate
Lillian Roberts, Executive Director and Delegate
AFSCME District Council 37
New York

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