Policy Committees Meet at Congressional City Conference

Nation's Cities Weekly, March 22, 2004 | Go to article overview
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Policy Committees Meet at Congressional City Conference

NLC's 2004 seven policy and advocacy committees met at the Congressional City Conference to discuss policy issues and learn more about NLC's 2004 advocacy agenda.

The meetings were expanded so that members could discuss both policy and advocacy issues under their jurisdiction. Each of the committees also participated in lobby strategy sessions to help prepare them for City Lobby Day 2004.

Community and Economic Development (CED)

Osceola, Ark., Alderman and CED Chair Tommy Baker led the discussions on affordable housing and job loss, creation, and retention issues, which had been identified as the top priorities for the CED policy and advocacy agenda in 2004.

The committee hosted a panel on affordable housing featuring representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Housing Conference.

The Committee also listened to a professional staff person from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on the topic on trade and job loss, creation and retention.

Environment and Natural Resources (EENR)

Atlanta Councilmember Clair Muller, chair of EENR, welcomed members to Washington and encouraged them to participate in NLC's lobby day.

EENR's top advocacy issue this year is opposing the MTBE safe harbor provision. Following the MTBE discussion, Councilmember Muller conducted a discussion of the merits and drawbacks of supporting a Trust Fund for water infrastructure, which is EENR's top policy issue for the year.

A variety of funding sources were discussed during the meeting, which will provide the steering committee with direction on where to focus their research this year.

Finance, Administration & Intergovernmental Relations (FAIR)

The FAIR Committee, which was chaired by Abilene, Texas, Mayor Pro Tem Kay Alexander, continued its focus on important NLC advocacy priorities. In addition to an update on the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, FAIR members heard presentations on MTBE liability provisions and the Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act (S. 150), which would have adverse preemption and unfunded mandate consequences for cities and towns nationwide.

FAIR members were urged to oppose S. 150, which defines Internet access in a manner that would preempt the ability of local and state governments to collect traditional telecommunications and gross receipts taxes, franchise fees, and rights-of-way fees. Instead, FAIR members were encouraged to support the Internet Access Tax Ban Extension and Improvement Act (S. 2084), which preserves existing local taxing and regulatory authority.

Human Development (HD)

The HD Policy and Advocacy Committee identified the No Child Left Behind Act and health care policy as the top priorities for the HD policy and advocacy agenda.

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Policy Committees Meet at Congressional City Conference


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