12/06/2018

2018 Capital Gains

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Actual and Estimated 2018 capital gain distributions

Following are capital gain distributions paid on December 6, 2018, and estimated capital gain distributions payable December 28, 2018.

December 6, 2018 Capital Gail Distributions                        Short-Term           Long-Term

Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth  Fund                    $0.01763                $6.01221

 

The funds listed below may pay a capital gain distribution in December, 2018.  The amount reflected represents a preliminary estimate as of the date indicated, and is based on information available as of October 31, 2018. Estimates are subject to significant change based on a number of factors, including changes in the number of shares outstanding, certain tax adjustments, market conditions, board approvals, and other circumstances.   These factors may also result in year-end distributions being made by funds which show no estimate as of the date of this report. The amount and character of distributions will be finalized on the record dates.

Aquila Distributors LLC does not provide accounting, tax or legal advice. Shareholders should seek tax advice based upon their particular situation.                                            Printable Version

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXShort-Term          Long-Term

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXEstimate             Estimate

Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona1                                       $0.00                    $0.02

Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky1                      $0.00                    $0.02

1 Represents undistributed realized gains from fiscal 2018 which must be distributed in 2018 and which cannot be reduced.

In the event that capital gains distributions are declared, the funds are anticipated to have a record date of December 27, 2018, an ex-date of December 28, 2018, a payable date of December 28, 2018, and a reinvestment date of December 28, 2018.

Although the funds listed below could pay capital gains distributions in December, 2018, as of the date of this report, a capital gain distribution is not anticipated.

Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado

Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust

Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon

Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund (RI)

Aquila Tax-Free Fund for Utah

Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund

 

Shares of the Funds may only be sold by offering the Funds’ Prospectus. Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus.  The prospectus is available from your financial advisor, and when you call 800-437-1020 or visit www.aquilafunds.com.

11/28/2018

Sandy Rufenacht on Money Life with Chuck Jaffe

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Sandy Rufenacht was interviewed on Money Life with Chuck Jaffe November 19, 2018.  During the interview, Mr. Rufenacht discussed market volatility, the rate environment, managing available returns and risk exposure, and the characteristics his team looks for when selecting securities for Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund and Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund.

Please listen to the full interview:

 

Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus.  The prospectus is available from your financial advisor, and when you call 800-437-1020 or visit www.aquilafunds.com.

11/20/2018

IRS announces new contribution levels for retirement accounts

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This month the IRS announced tax year 2019 annual cost-of-living adjustments for more than 60 items including tax rate schedules, retirement savings contribution limits and increases to the standard deduction.

The limit on annual contributions to an IRA had its first increase since 2013, going from $5,500 to $6,000 per qualified individual. Catch-up contributions for those age 50 and over remained the same at $1,000.

The maximum elective deferral to 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000, again, with the catch-up contribution remaining at $6,000.

You can review all the inflation related adjustments to retirement plans in Notice 2018-83 from the Internal Revenue Service.

For additional information on all the cost-of-living adjustments, here is their news release: IRS provides tax inflation adjustments for tax year 2019.

In addition, our new release of 2019 tax rates, schedules, and contribution limits is available here: 2019 Tax Facts.

11/07/2018

The Essential Municipal Bond Market

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Anthony Tanner, CFA®, Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager, Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona

Seldom in the financial landscape do investors have greater ability to support and participate in their local and state economy than through investing in municipal bonds. Municipal bonds can offer individual investors a source of income that is generally exempt from Federal and state income taxes.

The municipal bond market provides more than just an avenue for investors to earn tax-free income.   At the local level, it is a vital and core component of economic development.  Municipal bonds are the primary tool by which state and local governments implement public policy through spending on infrastructure projects, such as hospitals, schools, water and sewer systems, airports and other vital transportation projects.   Many of our region’s most visible and successful public works projects have been funded primarily through municipal bonds, including the Light Rail System, the Sky Harbor Airport expansion, and Arizona State University campus development.

In Arizona, our residents benefit from a dynamic and resilient local municipal bond market, as illustrated by the manner in which state and local governments weathered the great recession in 2007-2009. By the low point in that economic downturn, the Arizona economy had shed nearly 300,000 jobs as employment declined 11%, compared to 6% nationally.   Nevada was the only state with a deeper decline.  Throughout that time, Arizona’s credit rating declined minimally from an average of AA- to A+.

Arizona set a recent record for employment after surpassing its pre-recession peak in 2016, and its current credit ratings of AA by S&P and Aa2 by Moody’s1 are actually higher than prior to the outset of the recession. Read more “The Essential Municipal Bond Market”

09/27/2018

S&P Evaluates Kentucky Turnpike Authority’s Obligations

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S&P Global Ratings recently lowered their rating on the Kentucky Turnpike Authority’s economic development road revenue bonds to A- from AA- , and assigned a stable outlook. The bonds maintain their ratings of A+, and Aa3, with Fitch Ratings and Moody’s, respectively. According to S&P, reasoning behind the downgrade is related to their change in issuer credit ratings methodology that was effective in January, 2018, as well as increasing financial pressure; primarily, the Turnpike Authority’s obligation to fund pension contributions for the State Police Retirement System.

The Kentucky Turnpike Authority (KTA) has $1.2 billion of outstanding revenue and refunding bonds, and unlike turnpikes in other states, the debt is not backed by toll revenue. The debt is secured by tax and fee revenue, and payments are subject to legislative appropriation under a lease structure with the State Transportation Cabinet.

In the past, S&P viewed funds from taxes, fees and other turnpike revenue as a dedicated revenue stream for bond payments, but under their revised criteria for credit ratings linked to an obligor’s creditworthiness, they no longer consider these funds to be legally dedicated to bond payments, but rather a general fund revenue source tied to unfunded pension liabilities. Without a dedicated revenue stream for bond payments, S&P’s rating of KTA’s bonds will be linked to the state’s creditworthiness. They will be rated one notch below, and move in tandem with, Kentucky’s issuer credit rating.
Read more “S&P Evaluates Kentucky Turnpike Authority’s Obligations”

09/06/2018

Valuable New Resource for Facts on Retirement

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On September 5, 2018, FactsOnRetirement.org was launched by the Investment Company Institute. On the new site, extensive research and data is provided on the US retirement system demonstrating the strength and effectiveness of the system, dispelling misconceptions, and providing information and resources for those interested in learning more.

“ICI has a team of experts dedicated to studying the US retirement system and FactsOnRetirement.org will help make their work more readily available and easily accessible to the growing body of academics, policymakers, and the public who are engaged on this important issue,” said ICI President and CEO Paul Schott Stevens. “Whether you’re new to the issue or a seasoned expert, we believe this site will be a valuable resource that shows how we can build on the strengths of the current system to enhance retirement savings—and security—in the United States.”

The site consists of four sections:  Retirement by the Numbers, Myths vs. Facts, Tips for Savers, and Additional Resources.  Whether you are in retirement, planning for retirement, or advising clients, you’ll find interesting and valuable information, well worth your time and attention.

The Investment Company Institute (ICI) is the leading association representing regulated funds globally, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), closed-end funds, and unit investment trusts (UITs) in the United States, and similar funds offered to investors in jurisdictions worldwide. ICI seeks to encourage adherence to high ethical standards, promote public understanding, and otherwise advance the interests of funds, their shareholders, directors, and advisers. ICI carries out its international work through ICI Global, with offices in London, Hong Kong, and Washington, DC.

09/04/2018

2018 Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona annual shareholder meetings

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Updated 10/30/18: Shareholders of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona are cordially invited to attend their Annual Shareholder Meeting on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. at the J.W. Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Salons C-E, 5402 E. Lincoln Drive in Scottsdale, Arizona. Breakfast will be served prior to the meeting.

Those unable to attend the Scottsdale meeting may be interested in attending a special informational outreach meeting in Tucson at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. That meeting will take place at the Westin La Paloma, Aster Room, 3800 E. Sunrise Drive. A light breakfast will be served prior to the outreach meeting.

Attendees at both meetings will have the opportunity to visit with Fund Executives, Trustees and the Portfolio Managers.

Special guest speaker at the shareholder meeting in Scottsdale will be Arizona Deputy State Treasurer Mark Swenson. Mr. Swenson has held senior executive positions for elected officials in state government for 24 years including four State Treasurers, three Senate Presidents, and five Senate Majority Leaders. Prior to the Treasurer’s office, he served for more than 12 years as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Arizona State Senate, including four years in budget and tax policy.

The Phoenix Business Journal, on October 29, 2018,  published market observations from Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona portfolio manager, Tony Tanner:  My View, Arizona continues to benefit from municipal bonds. In the opinion piece, Mr. Tanner discussed the ability of investors in Arizona municipal bonds to support and participate in their local and state economies, and in visible and successful public works projects which have been funded primarily through municipal bonds.

“When Arizona investors consider the high quality and demonstrated strength of the Arizona municipal bond market, these characteristics can provide them with added confidence in making municipal bond investments that are essential to furthering the economy and quality of life in Arizona”, Mr. Tanner said.

Please plan to attend a meeting. We look forward to seeing you in either Scottsdale or Tucson.

08/20/2018

2018 Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah Annual Shareholder Meeting

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Shareholders of Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah are cordially invited to attend their annual shareholder meeting Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. at the Grand America Hotel in the Imperial Ballroom A and Reception Room A, 555 Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. A buffet breakfast will be served prior to the meeting.

Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with Fund Executives, Trustees, the Portfolio Managers and hear Utah State Senator and former Trustee, Lyle Hillyard speak about the Utah economy.

Mr. Hillyard has been a member of the Utah State Senate since 1985 and has practiced law in the state for over 40 years. He has served as the Senate Majority Leader and President of the Utah Senate. Through his illustrious career he has received many awards and recognitions including the Cache Chamber of Commerce Total Citizen of the Year Award in 1996 and the Distinguished Legislator Award from the Utah Trial Lawyers Association in 2003.

We look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake City.

08/02/2018

2018 Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust Annual Shareholder Meeting

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Shareholders of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust are cordially invited to attend their Annual Shareholder Meeting on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at the Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom in Honolulu. Light refreshments will be served prior to the meeting.

Those unable to attend the Honolulu meeting may be interested in attending one of the special outreach informational meetings in Hilo and Kailua-Kona. The Hilo meeting will take place at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii in the Moanahoku Room. The Kailua-Kona meeting will be Friday, September 21, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Ballroom 3 & 4. Luncheon will be served following both outreach meetings.

Attendees at all meetings will have the opportunity to visit with Trust Executives, Trustees, the Portfolio Managers and hear renowned Hawaii economist, Paul H. Brewbaker, Ph.D., Principal of TZ Economics, a Hawai’i economics consultancy. Mr. Brewbaker’s background is in research on the Hawaii economy and financial risk analytics. He has been affiliated with Bank of Hawaii for more than 25 years, concluding as its Chief Economist. Mr. Brewbaker will present an overview of the Hawaii and national economy.

We look forward to seeing you in either Honolulu, Hilo, or Kailua-Kona.

06/18/2018

Muni Market Needs Local Newsrooms

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The “watch dogs” keeping an eye on local politics are disappearing and that is resulting in higher borrowing costs for small issuers. A recent study entitled “Financing Dies in Darkness? The Impact of Newspaper Closures on Public Finance” details the costs associated with issuing debt in small towns that have lost their local newspaper.

Many small town newspapers are closing due to a decline in subscribers and local advertising. Traditionally, these papers invested time and resources in following local governments, and dedicated print space to keeping citizens well-informed regarding the activities of city officials, while holding those officials accountable for their decisions. A Pew Research report indicated that a 27% drop in newspaper subscribers from 2003 to 2014 resulted in a 35% drop in State House reporters. These reporters had been gathering information on local governments and reporting their findings. There is concern that a reduction in, or lack of, reporting may lead to increased government waste, less effective schools, and an increase in incidents of corruption. When local governments are not held accountable for their decisions, investors in the debt issued by these governments are likely to require a higher rate of interest to offset the perceived risks.

There are many examples around the country that highlight the value of political reporting by local newspapers – here are a few that we find interesting. A city in Utah decided to construct a new City Hall, and the construction plans included demolishing a school building and closing a portion of a main road. When the local newspaper reported on the decision, the city’s residents opposed the decisions made by local leaders. After months of pressure, city officials decided to rescind the decision to build the new City Hall. Read more “Muni Market Needs Local Newsrooms”