The 112th Congress finally ended when the House of Representatives adopted a formal resolution of adjournment on January 3rd just one hour before the 113th Congress convened. Rebuild America’s Schools worked throughout the roller coaster fiscal cliff process for the extension of the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program.
American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012: The last major legislative act of the lame duck session of the 112th Congress was H.R. 8 the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The bill was approved by 257 Members of the House including 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans. The Senate voted 89-8 to approve the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) after weeks of stalemate. The last minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff generates about $600 billion in new federal revenue over the next 10 years.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) includes a two year (2012 & 2013) extension of the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program. QZABS are critical in continuing federal support to help local communities build, renovate and modernize schools for the 21st Century. A provision permanently extending an arbitrage rebate exception for school construction bonds is also included.
The President and the 113th Congress will be taking on budget, spending, tax reform and fiscal issues including another debt ceiling deadline between now and March. Another critical deadline in March is the expiration of the six month Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution. The new Congress must provide funding for all federal programs including education for the remaining months of the fiscal year.
Rebuild America’s Schools will continue our long term efforts to strengthen federal partnerships with local communities to build and maintain modern, educationally and energy efficient school facilities addressing the economic and educational challenges of the 21st Century.
Below is the QZAB provision from the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
Sec. 310. Extension of Qualified Zone Academy bonds.
Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) – allocation of bond limitation. QZABs are a form of tax credit bond which offer the holder a Federal tax credit instead of interest. QZABs can be used to finance renovations, equipment purchases, developing course material, and training teachers and personnel at a qualified zone academy.
In general, a qualified zone academy is any public school (or academic program within a public school) below college level that is located in an empowerment zone or enterprise community and is designed to cooperate with businesses to enhance the academic curriculum and increase graduation and employment rates. The provision extends the QZAB program for 2012 and 2013 providing $400 million in bond volume per year.
This provision is estimated to cost $235 million over ten years.
Extension of the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZABS) QZAB tax credit bonds for school renovation and repair have been used successfully by school districts across the country since first enacted in 1997. School districts and communities benefited from over $11 billion in financial support received from the federal Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) tax credit bond program established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. School districts are using QZABS and QSCBs to finance the building, renovation and repair of schools across the country in urban, suburban and rural communities.
Californians for School Facilities supported the extension of QZABs and will continue to seek renewal of the extremely effective and efficient Qualified School Construction Bond program.
SCHOOL FACILITY LEGISLATION IN 113TH CONGRESS
Rebuild America’s Schools will work in the 113th Congress to advance federal school construction support to build, renovate, and modernize schools and to generate jobs across the country. Rebuild America’s Schools will work with Members of Congress, Congressional Committees and the Obama Administration to enact federal proposals to help build, renovate and repair and modernize our nation’s public schools.
Legislation supported by Rebuild America’s Schools in the 112th Congress that Rebuild America’s Schools will continue to pursue in the 113th Congress include (Please note bill numbers do not carry over from one Congress to another).
- The Rebuilding America’s Schools Act, H.R. 2394, S. 796 (Rangel, Rockefeller)
- Fix America’s Schools Today Act (FAST), H.R. 2948, S. 1597 (DeLauro, Brown)
- Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act, H.R. 2914 (Schakowsky)
- The American Jobs Act, H.R. 12, S. 1549 (Larson, Reid)
Rebuild America’s Schools thanks the Members of the Senate and the House who sponsored and advocated school facility legislation in the 112th Congress. Coalition members look forward to working with our sponsors and co-sponsors on the reintroduction of these important school facility bills in the 113th Congress.