Butler Snow’s Stephen E. Weyl was recently quoted in The Daily Orange article Tax reform could affect Syracuse University’s planning for major campus infrastructure projects about Syracuse University moving forward with implementing a 20-year plan to revamp its campus infrastructure, and its ability to pay for the plan’s several construction projects that could be hindered by federal tax reform:
The bonds used by colleges and universities typically have lives of about 30 years, and the bond issuance is usually overseen by a local or state government entity.
SU’s most recently available tax forms show that, since 2005, the university has had six tax-exempt bonds issued through the City of Syracuse’s Industrial Development Agency and the Trust for Cultural Resources of the County of Onondaga, which is a branch of the county’s Office of Economic Development.
The most recent of those bonds were issued in 2011 and 2013, both through the county trust, at prices of about $50 million and $68 million, respectively. The bonds have 25-year lifespans at interest rates of about 5 percent.
Stephen Weyl, a tax lawyer at the Mississippi-based firm Butler Snow LLP specializing in tax-exempt bond financing, said if SU had instead accessed those bonds in the taxable market, the interest rates “would be closer to 7.5 percent.”
“That’s a huge difference,” Weyl said.
The proceeds of those bonds have been deployed “for many campus renovations, replacements, upgrades and improvements,” Sarah Scalese, associate vice president for university communications, said in an email.
Official statements for each of those bonds stipulate that the bonds were issued for renovations of certain campus buildings and facilities, including academic facilities, dormitories, athletic facilities and the Carrier Dome. Since they’ve already been issued, those particular bonds wouldn’t be affected by any changes to the tax code, but any new bonds would be subject to the rules of the new tax code.
To read The Daily Orange’s article about Syracuse University that Stephen E. Weyl is quoted in its entirety, please visit the link below: