Death and Taxes
Death and Taxes
Last week brought news from here in the District that our esteemed Congress granted us the vox populi — the gift of tax reform (awaiting the blessing of a House-Senate conference committee, passage by both chambers, and the Donald's florid signature of course). With uncharacteristic haste, the House and Senate advanced the first major reform of our tax code since the Reagan administration. As with many pieces of complex legislation that come out of the dome on the hill, it seems that those who voted had little indication or inclination to understand exactly what it is they were foisting upon us. From all accounts, it seems that the comfortable will have little cause for concern of affliction and the comfort granted to the afflicted will likely subside by 2027 if not sooner. Rollbacks have been rolled back, deals cut, obscure breaks and credits will expire or extend — this is sausage making at its least.
At the risk of coming off as a rank partisan, as you know well NRPA has good friends on both sides of the aisle and I personally have not yet been convinced of the evils of moderation, I do feel compelled to comment on the stench that emanates from this process. Damn me if I don't at least want a wee bit of regular order in my legislating, committee hearings, amendments, accurate accounting made by non-partisan scorekeepers and the opportunity for public scrutiny. I'll leave the reportage of the details of the still evolving legislation to the experts, (see articles below). But by contrast, the 1986 tax reform bill signed by President Reagan, was sponsored by Dick Gephardt in the House and Bill Bradley in the Senate, it passed by voice vote in the House and 97-3 in the Senate. If we must pass bad bills can we at least do enough to enlist the other side to participate in the charade?
The other item that irks me about this recent round of tax reform efforts is the seeming abandonment of principle on deficit reduction. This tax effort will increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion (with a T) over the next decade. To be fair, progress on deficit reduction efforts have escaped both parties, but I was always comforted by the high-minded seriousness many members of the Grand Old Party brought to the national conversation about the perils of the national debt and deficits to future generations. It now seems that we're stuck governed by two parties who adopt a characteristically baby-boomer, short-sighted, me-first attitude to my children and their children's fiscal future. Fifty years later, the summer of love has given way to a long winter of discontent. Even my fellow Gen Xer Paul Ryan has succumbed to the particularly grating baby boomer garbage economics siren song of tax cuts generating sufficient economic growth to grow our way out of the deficit hole we've dug. Dude, c'mon.
The jury is still officially out on "tax reform" and with the House and Senate both passing short-term extensions keeping the government open until December 22, all attention will focus back on these efforts. So, we'll see what shakes out, my money is on the passage of something, anything that will give House and Senate leadership a win. Hold your nose and vote, you know this stinks.  
Kevin O'Hara

NRPA Unveils New Green Stormwater Infrastructure Resources


In cooperation with the American Planning Association (APA) and Low Impact Development Center (LIDC), NRPA developed a series of evidence-based educational resources and training for park and planning professionals to improve equity through green infrastructure and maximize multiple benefits. Resources include a best practice guide, briefing papers, case studies and more.

Download the Resources


Recreational Trails Program Funding Opportunities


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) posted two grant opportunities related to the Recreational Trails Program. Both grant opportunities could be beneficial to your agency's trails program. The Youth Service and Conservation Corps Workforce Development grant aims to increase agreements between agencies and youth service programs. Grants of up to $300,000 could be awarded, and the deadline is January 8. The National Trails System Information, Corridor Protection and Training grant seeks to improve national trails training through a $200,000 grant and the deadline is January 9.

Apply for the Youth Service Grant
Apply for the National Trails Grant
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