Legislative Forum Wrap-Up
The recently completed Legislative Forum was once again a success as nearly
200 parks and recreation advocates came to Washington, D.C. to advance NRPA’s
legislative priorities and discuss the importance of parks and recreation with
their Members of Congress. NRPA members also took their message to key federal
agency officials as a select group of urban directors joined NRPA leadership in
meetings with the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD), and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
of both Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) have committed to
reintroducing the Community Parks Revitalization Act, which would recreate federal
grant programs specifically for local parks and recreation infrastructure and
programs. NRPA staff has worked with both offices to strengthen and simplify
the structure of the legislation and to add an innovative financing mechanism
to the bill to create additional funding opportunities for local parks and recreation
Senator Hagan Receives
NRPA Parks and Recreation Champion Award
March 20th NRPA presented Senator Kay Hagan with the Parks and Recreation Champion
Award for her leadership and extraordinary work to further legislation relative
to relative to NRPA’s mission to advance parks, recreation and environmental
conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. The
Senator was specifically recognized for her introduction of the Community Parks
Revitalization Act in September of 2012. The bill is a companion measure
to the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, which was previously
introduced in the House.
for "Call to Action on Walkability" by April 30
NRPA is calling
upon our partners to help Surgeon General Regina Benjamin develop her “Call
to Action on Walkability” — an effort to improve walkability and increase
walking in our communities.
The Surgeon General is currently accepting public comments to help in this effort.
The public comment period for the proposed call to action on walking runs
from April 1-30, 2013. NRPA is a partner in the “Every Body Walk!”
campaign aimed at getting Americans up and moving. We encourage all members
to participate in the public comment period and ask that you encourage your community
to do so, too.
LWCF—FY 2013 Appropriations
Congress finally complete action on their spending bills for FY 2013 (six-months
late) and began with sequestration taking effect which meant Federal agencies
were given a mandate to begin making $85 billion in funding cuts. The
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reported that the “sequester” translates
into nine percent cuts for the remaining six months of FY 2013, or a five percent
overall for the entire fiscal year for each federal agency.
FY 2014 Appropriations
Congress has turned its attention to working on the FY 2014 spending bills. Just
prior to departing for the spring holiday break, the House and Senate approved
radically different FY 2014 Congressional budgets that will guide spending. For
park and recreation purposes the most important function of the Congressional
budget is to set an overall domestic spending cap that appropriators then use
to assign funding ceilings for individual spending bills.
LWCF: Pursuing Any New and Creative Opportunity to Promote
40% for the State Assistance Program
Legislation recently moved through the House Natural Resources Committee which
would prevent the closure of the Federal Helium Reserve. The Reserve is
an enormous stockpile of helium which dates back to the 1920s. The Department
of Interior manages the Reserve and is in the process of selling it off.
Article contributed by The Ferguson Group,
NRPA’s outside lobbyists.
A financial tool that allows
cities and counties to meet critical community needs remains under attack. Municipal
bond interest is – and always has been – exempt from federal tax, just as
federal bonds are exempt from state and local taxes. However, in an effort to
close the federal budget gap, some in Washington are targeting the tax exempt
status of municipal bonds which would increase the costs of borrowing for local
governments, likely preventing many infrastructure projects (such as park and
recreation projects) from moving forward.