April 2013
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. 

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Urban Parks Bill

    

The offices 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 agencies.

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Senator Hagan Receives NRPA Parks and Recreation Champion Award

    

On Wednesday, 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.

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Submit Comments 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.

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LWCF—FY 2013 Appropriations and Sequestration

    

March saw 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.

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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.

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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.
 

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Municipal Bonds Still Threatened

    

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.

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Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Hit Hard by Sequester

    

Article contributed by The Ferguson Group, NRPA’s outside lobbyists.

On March 6, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Kenneth Salazar informed county recipients of Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) that program cuts due to sequester will result in a 5.1% reduction in June 2013 payments.

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