State Bond Commission was created by Article VII, Section 8 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974

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1 NAVIGATING THE LOUISIANA STATE BOND COMMISSION Louisiana District Attorney Association Fall Conference November 21, 2013 Creation and Purpose State Bond Commission was created by Article VII, Section 8 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 The Constitution provides that No bonds or other obligations shall be issued or sold by the state, directly or through any state board, agency or commission, or by any political subdivision of the state, unless prior written approval of the bond commission is obtained. Creation and Purpose Powers of the State Bond Commission are broader than approval of the issuance of bonds La R.S. 39: provides as follows: No parish, municipality, public board, political or public corporation, subdivision, or taxing district, and no road or subroad district, school district, sewerage district, drainage or subdrainage district, levee district, waterworks or subwaterworks district, irrigation district, road lighting district, harbor and terminal district, or any other political subdivision, taxing district, political or public corporation, created under or by the constitution and laws of the state shall have authority to borrow money, incur debt, or to issue bonds, or other evidences of debt, or to levy taxes, or to pledge uncollected taxes or revenues for the payment thereof, where they are authorized by the constitution or laws of the state so to do, without the consent and approval of the State Bond Commission. Composition of State Bond Commission Governor Lieutenant governor President of the Senate Speaker of the House State Treasurer (Chairman) Secretary of State Attorney General

2 Chairman of Senate Finance Committee State Bond Commission Staff and Office Operations Staff carries out day to day operations of the Commission: Receives agenda requests, ensures compliance of applications with Constitutional and statutory requirements and ensures feasibility, including the ability to repay any indebtedness incurred The staff also prepares all resolutions, official statements, notices and all other proceedings in the issuance of State general obligation debt. In this regard, the State Bond Commission publishes notices for receipt of bids on State debt and receives bids from underwriters seeking to purchase bonds of the State. State Bond Commission Staff and Office Operations Who are the staff members of the Commission? Whitman J. Kling, Jr., Director Lela Folse, Assistant Director Denesia Anderson, Administrative Assistant Shirley Wright, Administrative Assistant Carrie Chen, Debt Analyst Jessyka Aizprua, Debt Analyst Cassie Berthelot, Debt Analyst Wanda Sittig, Debt Analyst When Should You Seek Approval from the State Bond Commission? You plan to hold an election to authorize ad valorem (property) taxes or sales taxes You plan to incur debt You plan to issue bonds You plan to take out a loan (example: budgetary loan)

3 Incurring Indebtedness Local governments in Louisiana are empowered to borrow money and encumber resources and revenues to finance capital improvements. Additionally, budgetary loans are authorized to allow local government flexibility in cash management. Major sources of revenue include ad valorem taxes, revenues of enterprise funds, sales tax revenues, and in some cases, the general revenues of the entity. The decision to finance projects, rather than use pay as you go ( PAYGO ) sources of funding, impacts the future financial status of the entity. Proper debt management, therefore, is an important tool in the administration of local government. The State of Louisiana provides a unique resource to local government through the State Bond Commission, which provides technical assistance to local governments in addition to its responsibilities for review and approval of local bond issues. Types of Borrowing Long Term Borrowing (In excess of 18 months): Long term borrowing is justified for the acquisition, construction, replacement, or major repair of public buildings and other facilities used to provide local government services. These facilities are characterized by a long useful life and any financing should correspond with the useful life of the asset being financed. Such capital improvements should be nonrecurring, one time expenditures. Expenditures for capital items which are almost as recurrent as regular operating expenditures, such as office and operating equipment, should not be considered for debt financing if another alternative is available. Short Term Borrowing (18 months or less): Louisiana statutes allow local governments to borrow short term to finance cash flow deficits, and for interim financing of major capital assets. Cash flow borrowings, or budgetary loans, are allowed to meet ongoing obligations which when delayed would be detrimental to the community. Refinancing: Refinancing of current debt obligations is an important tool in debt management. Refinancing is justified to: (a) reduce the interest rate on current outstanding debt, thereby improving cash flow or reducing the tax rate to the taxpayer; (b) restructure existing debt to approximate the useful life of the original asset; or, (c) eliminate restrictive covenants in existing bond documents. Emergencies: Borrowing is justified when natural disasters or other emergencies dictate that debt be incurred to protect the health and safety of the citizens. Financing Options for Capital Improvements Local governments have two options to finance capital improvements: pay as you go ( PAYGO ) funding and

4 bond financing Neither approach is inherently superior to the other. Bond financing can provide inflationary savings by allowing the project to be completed more quickly while affording limited investment opportunity through the investment of idle funds. However, the total cost (including debt service) of paying for the project with borrowed money may exceed the total cost of paying for the project with PAYGO funding. Best course of action is combination of both approaches. For example: A municipality might utilize bond financing for the purchase, acquisition or construction of a public building and PAYGO funding for the equipment and furnishings. The financing decision should not only contemplate the effect of the program on future budgets but how much and what type of debt the entity is able and willing to bear. Types of Bonds or Other Debt Instruments General Obligation Bonds Limited Tax Bonds Revenue Bonds Sales Tax Bonds Refunding Bonds Other Types of Debt Instruments General Obligation Bonds Debt is secured by a pledge of the issuer s full faith and credit and/or taxing power. Security: Security is primarily ad valorem taxes. An unlimited ad valorem tax is imposed, without limit as to rate or amount, on all taxable property within the boundaries of the issuer in an amount sufficient to pay debt service (principal and interest) on the bonds. Louisiana statutes provide that if the issuer fails to levy a tax sufficient for debt service, the state may step in and impose the tax. Uses: G.O. bonds are primarily used to finance the acquisition, construction, or improvement of public property. Public property may be defined as a municipal building or facility, title to which shall be in the public. General Obligation Bonds

5 Debt Limitation: Louisiana statutes limit the issuance of G.O. bonds: Municipalities and parishes can issue up to 10 percent of their assessed valuation per purpose. This limitation is excepted if the aggregate for all purposes determined at the time of the issuance of the bonds does not exceed 35 percent of the assessed valuation of the issuer. For example: A city with an assessed valuation of $50,000,000 can issue up to $5,000,000 of G.O. bonds for each purpose such as public buildings, streets, and so on. However, if the city's total G.O. debt does not exceed $17,500,000, or 35 percent of its assessed valuation (including the proposed issuance), the 10 percent limitation can be exceeded for any one purpose. School boards can issue up to 35 percent of their assessed valuation in G.O. bonds. Refer to specific statutes for limitations with respect to special districts and other entities. Approval: G.O. bonds must be approved by a majority of the qualified voters. The proposition presented to the voters must include the total amount of the debt proposed, the term of the debt, the maximum allowable interest rate, and the purpose for which the debt is to be incurred. State Bond Commission approval is required to hold the election and incur the debt. Limited Tax Bonds Definition: A Limited Tax Bond is secured by a special ad valorem tax which is fixed in amount, unlike G.O. bonds, which are secured by unlimited ad valorem taxes. Security: Limited ad valorem taxes as set forth by the issuer within authorizing resolution. Uses: Limited tax bonds may be used to finance the acquisition or improvement of public property, limited to the type of property authorized by the tax which secures them. Debt Limitation: Although there is no statutory debt limitation on limited tax debt, the lenders (or bondholders ) may provide in the financing document ( bond resolution ) that only a certain percentage of the tax may be funded into debt. If the tax is being levied to maintain, for example, police services and a municipality is looking to build a new police station, consideration must be given to what portion of the tax is to be used for other police related costs. Approval: Limited tax must be approved by a majority of qualified voters. Election is required to levy the tax, but not to issue bonds. State Bond Commission approval is required to hold the election and to incur debt. Revenue Bonds

6 Description: Revenue Bonds are bonds or debt obligations payable from and secured by a pledge of the income and revenues derived from fees, rates, rentals, tolls, charges, grants, or other receipts from any revenue producing properties or facilities belonging to a public entity. The facilities are known as public enterprises (i.e., water, sewer, gas, or electric systems, hospitals, toll roads, airports, and so on). Security: Revenue bonds are payable from the net revenues of the public enterprise after payment of all ordinary expenses of operation and maintenance of the enterprise. The bond resolution will contain a covenant that rates and charges be maintained at a level which will keep the system operational, pay debt service, and maintain some margin of safety ( coverage ). Coverage is computed as follows Revenue Bonds Net Revenues = Coverage Debt Service Debt Limitation: The amount of revenue bonds which can be issued are not limited by statute. The bond resolution will set forth the amount of coverage which will determine the amount of debt a system can reasonably support. For example, the industry standard for utility revenue bonds is 1.25 x coverage. This means that a utility system must produce revenues equal to 1.25 x debt service. If a facility generates $1,000,000 in annual net revenues then it could reasonably support about $800,000 in annual debt service. Uses: The proceeds of revenue bonds may be used to finance improvements to the particular revenue producing public enterprise. Approval: State Bond Commission approval is required prior to issuance of the bonds. Sales Tax Bonds Definition: Sales Tax Bonds are secured by the net revenues received from the imposition of a sales and use tax within the issuer's jurisdiction. To issue sales tax bonds, an issuer must have the power to impose a sales tax and to fund the sales tax into bonds. In Louisiana, this requires a majority vote of the electorate. The election generally authorizes the levy of the tax and the issuance of the bonds at the same time. Security: Sales tax bonds are limited tax bonds secured by the net revenues of the sales tax, after paying the costs of collecting and administering the tax. Debt Limitation: Louisiana law requires that not more than 75 percent of the avails or proceeds of the tax may be funded into bonds issued for public improvements. The proposition

7 authorizing the bonds may impose further restrictions on the amount of sales tax revenues available for debt service. Note: Economic projections are a vital part of the analysis when contemplating sales tax bonds. In a poor economy, sales tax collections decline. Since the bonds have first claim on the sales tax revenues, this means that other vital governmental services may not be funded. Approval: State Bond Commission approval is required to hold the election, and final approval is required when bonds are issued. Refunding Bonds Description: Refunding is a procedure whereby an issuer refinances an outstanding bond issue by issuing new bonds. Security: Refunding bonds are generally payable from the same source as the bonds being refunded, i.e., general obligations, enterprise revenues, sales tax revenues. In some cases, the security of the refunding bond may differ from the bonds being refunded. Uses: Refunding bonds are usually issued either to (a) reduce the interest rates on current outstanding debt, thereby improving cash flow or reducing the tax rate to the taxpayers; (b) restructure existing debt to approximate the useful life of the original asset; or, (c) eliminate restrictive covenants in existing bond documents. Refunding Bonds Debt Limitations: The Federal Tax Reform Act of 1986 sets very strict limitations on the use of refunding bonds. The statutes authorizing the existing debt may dictate further restrictions. For example, Article VI, Section 33(A) of the 1974 Louisiana Constitution states that general obligation bonds must be refunded at the same or a lower effective interest rate. The suitability of refunding should be determined by asking the following questions: What is the goal of the refunding? (To lower the tax rate or increase cash flow?) Does the refinancing extend the life of the original asset? (Will the refinancing extend the debt to 40 years when the building will only last 20 years?) What is the present value savings? (A rule of thumb measure of five percent present value savings is the industry standard.) Approval: State Bond Commission approval is required prior to issuance of the bonds. Issuance of Bonds for Local Government Projects through Conduit Issuer Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority ( LCDA ) is a statewide issuer authorized to issue bonds on behalf of governmental entities.

8 Issuing through the LCDA may provide flexibility with respect to the financing, for instance, to allow for a pledge of lawfully available funds. Approval of the State Bond Commission is also required prior to the issuance of the bonds by the LCDA. Other Types of Debt Instruments Revenue Anticipation Notes, or RANS for short, are issued for one year or less to finance anticipated cash flow shortages. Example: Ad valorem taxes are collected during the months of November, December, and January. An issuer may experience large cash balances during the first or second quarter of the year and shortages during the third quarter. RANs would be issued to cover the third quarter shortfall and be repaid from tax collections in November and December. RANs are usually paid from first money or a pledge of anticipated revenues. RANs may only be used to finance cash flow shortfalls due to cyclical collection of revenues. Certificates of Indebtedness are debt instruments maturing within 10 years payable from the excess revenues of the general fund or the anticipation of the collection of special taxes. Certificates of indebtedness may be used to finance acquisition of or improvements to publiclyowned property and equipment. Obtaining Placement On the Commission s Agenda The Commission meets monthly on the third Thursday of the month in Senate Committee Rooms in the State Capitol and meetings are generally held at 10:00 a.m. Agenda items are due to the State Bond Commission s staff at least 20 business days prior to the meeting for which the applicant seeks inclusion on the agenda Requires planning ahead and coordination of local governing body approval before submission of an application to the Commission Deadlines and application requirements can be found by clicking the link for the State Bond Commission on the State Treasury s website: Deadlines Associated with Tax Elections It is important to plan well in advance for coordination of deadlines involved with the tax election process

9 Governing authority of local political subdivision adopts a resolution/ordinance calling election on a particular date May need to submit to Parish Council or Police Jury for approval depending on local rules Application is submitted to U.S. Department of Justice (must allow at least 60 days for approval) Notice of Election must be published weekly for 4 weeks beginning within the period of 90 to 45 days in advance of the election. Application is submitted to State Bond Commission prior to the agenda submission deadline (found on Commission s website) for the particular election date Ballot submission must be made to LA Secretary of State by deadline posted on website: Forms Required for Agenda Items Several forms found on the Commission s website must be completed to obtain placement on the Commission s agenda Applicable forms depend on the approval being sought Details of project for financing new construction (including information on contractors if available at time of application) Details of bonds being refunded for refinancing outstanding bonds Financial disclosure forms for bond issues Description of proposed tax to be submitted to election Placement on the Agenda When the staff determines that all of the Constitutional and legal requirements have been met, the item may be placed on the agenda The staff may provide recommendations on particular items to the Commission or may refrain from providing any recommendation on certain agenda items in certain circumstances Representatives of the issuer should be prepared to attend the Commission meeting in the event Commission members have questions

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