Capital and operating budgets for basic infrastructure are insufficient to meet current and projected requirements; and
Jobs in public infrastructure design, construction, operation and maintenance have historically served as a reliable pathway to the middle class for millions of working families; and
Politicians from both parties have encouraged greater private investment and control in public infrastructure, through legislation and regulatory action; and
These efforts and similar proposals at the state and local levels encourage privatization through public-private partnerships that fail to protect the jobs, collective bargaining rights, wage standards and working conditions of public workers; and
State and local governments engaged in public-private partnerships have failed to protect users and taxpayers from higher costs and poorly-designed contracts; and
Public employee pension funds are exploring investments in public infrastructure because of long-term, stable cash flows, which complement their benefit obligations; and
Taxable municipal bonds such as Build America Bonds that provide a direct federal subsidy to the issuer, rather than a tax exemption to the investor, will attract investors such as public pension funds that receive no advantage from tax-exempt offerings.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
That AFSCME supports infrastructure funding and financing arrangements that:
- Provide for the maintenance of existing and construction of new infrastructure that is designed, inspected, operated and maintained by public entities and public employees; and
- Strengthen the economic, fiscal and environmental health of America's infrastructure, particularly in metropolitan areas; and
- Bring services and access to historically underserved and marginalized communities; and
- Protect and expand the role of traditional public financing of infrastructure through the municipal bond market.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
That AFSCME opposes funding and financing arrangements that:
- Subsidize or otherwise encourage the sale or lease of public infrastructure to private investors; and
- Subsidize or otherwise encourage public-private partnerships that will result in private operation, maintenance or control of public assets; and
- Encourage or incentivize the erosion of labor protections or compensation standards for public workers.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
That AFSCME opposes the elimination of the interest tax exemption on municipal bonds and supports the reinstatement of a permanent version of the Build America Bonds program to attract pension funds and other tax-exempt investors while offering public owners an alternative to more costly private finance; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:
That AFSCME will advocate for increased federal aid, through a combination of grants and financing, to encourage greater public investment in the nation's infrastructure.
SUBMITTED BY: Ann M. Sulfridge, President and Delegate
Elizabeth A. Elliott, Secretary-Treasurer and Delegate
AFSCME Local 101, Council 8