Robert Leonard Quoted in Media on Bond Tax Exemptions and Tax Reform

Akin Gump public law and policy partner Robert Leonard was quoted in several media outlets on the topics of municipal bond tax exemptions and the possibility of tax reform.

Regarding the former, as reported by Stateline, at the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., Leonard, along with other top tax policy analysts, told the governors that proposals to tax interest earned from municipal bonds are a part of tax reform being considered by both the executive and legislative branches, saying, “The threat is very real. It’s going to take vigilance, organization and the involvement of governors to avoid a policy disaster.”

Leonard, chief tax counsel to the House Ways and Means Committee at the time of the 1986 tax reform act, noted that tax-writing committees in the Senate and House are planning to take up comprehensive tax reform: “I think it’s realistic to say both chairmen appear very intent to move forward this year.”

Leonard was also quoted by The Hill in its article “K Street readies for tax reform fight” discussing the challenges of moving reform of the tax code through Congress.  He said, “It will take a higher degree of bipartisanship than we have seen so far.  This can’t be one effort by one party, by one chamber of Congress or by one end of Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Given uncertainty over the scope and nature of tax reform, Leonard said companies should deploy their full lobbying arsenal this year, even if a comprehensive tax reform bill doesn’t develop: “Even if it’s not pushed over the finish line this year, this is going to create a framework for future policy, so you are naive if you are sitting this out. The people who sit this out are taking a big risk of being on the losing side. It becomes a starting point for the next tax reform effort. It becomes very difficult to undo policy decisions that were previously made.”