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 Treasury Releases New Build America Bonds Data Recovery Act Bonds Program Provides Nearly $97 Billion Nationally to Date, Estimated to Save State and Local Governments Billions Compared to Tax Exempt Bonds


5/6/2010

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released its monthly comprehensive update on Build America Bonds issuances, including state-by-state data, showing nearly $97 billion have been issued through April 30, 2010.   Build America Bond issuers benefit from substantial savings in borrowing costs when compared to issuing tax exempt debt.  

"Build America Bonds continue to be used by a wide range of state and local governments, which have saved billions of dollars in net borrowing costs from issuing these bonds," said Alan B. Krueger, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist at the Treasury Department.  "At the same time, the functioning of the municipal bond market has been improved by the addition of Build America Bonds.  The success of Build America Bonds so far makes a powerful argument for the permanent extension of this program at a revenue neutral rate."

Build America Bond issuance in the first twelve months of the program will save state and local governments across the country an estimated $12 billion in net present value relative to what they would have paid had they issued tax exempt bonds according to an analysis conducted by the Department of Treasury.   For example, through April 30, 2010 issuers in Washington State have issued $2.6 billion of Build America Bonds and Washington taxpayers will save an estimated $256 million due to the Build America Bonds program, according to the Treasury analysis.

"When Washington State ventured into the taxable Build America Bond market last fall to finance $500 million of transportation projects, we received the lowest interest rates in our state's history," said Governor Chris Gregoire.   "With our October issuance alone, Washington saved $64 million compared to the cost of a tax-exempt issue – enough to pay for a new state ferry.   Lower borrowing costs means fewer tax dollars are required for the essential capital projects.   It is an equation that helps everyone: less cost = more projects = more jobs."

Market reception for Build America Bonds has been very positive.  Between the program launch on April 3, 2009 and April 30, 2010:

  • There have been $97 billion in Build America Bond issuances;
  • Build America Bonds now constitute 21 percent of the municipal bonds market; and
  • There have been a total of 1,182 separate issues of Build America Bonds by local or state governments in the District of Columbia, 48 states, and two territories.  

The Build America Bonds program, created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, allows state and local governments to obtain much-needed financing at lower borrowing costs for new capital projects such as construction of schools and hospitals, development of transportation infrastructure, and water and sewer upgrades.   Under the Build America Bonds program, the Treasury Department makes a direct payment to the state or local governmental issuer in an amount equal to 35 percent of the interest payment on the bonds.

The Obama Administration's FY 2011 Budget proposes to make Build America Bonds permanent with a 28 percent subsidy rate; this rate is estimated to be revenue neutral relative to the estimated future Federal tax expenditure for tax-exempt bonds.  The budget also proposes expanding the eligible uses of Build America Bonds to cover a wider range of municipal borrowing, including original financings for public capital projects, current refundings for public capital projects, short-term working capital, and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization financings. 

The data contained in this report are compiled by the Department of the Treasury using data available from Bloomberg and are not based on filings with the Internal Revenue Service. 

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