Diana Herrmann discusses Fund strategy with Providence Business News


Following the recent 25th annual shareholder meeting of Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund, Diana Herrmann, President of the Fund and CEO of Aquila Investment Management LLC, was interviewed by Providence Business News.  During the interview, Ms. Herrmann discussed the important role the Fund has played in supporting economic and infrastructure development in Rhode Island, and in providing Rhode Island residents with income exempt from both state and federal income tax.

Ms. Herrmann pointed out that “Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund has financed major Rhode Island projects such as the enhancement of T.F. Green Airport and the construction of the Rhode Island Convention Center, Women & Infants Hospital, the University of Rhode Island’s Ryan Center and Bradford Boss Ice Arena, as well as local projects involving Rhode Island’s other colleges and universities (such as Brown University, Bryant University, Johnson & Wales University, New England Institute of Technology and Providence College) and clean water projects throughout the state”.

You’ll find the full interview on the Providence Business News site.

Shares of the Fund may only be sold by offering the Fund’s 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 on this site, from your financial adviser, and when you call 800-437-1020.


Aquila Municipal Bond Funds Continue to Avoid Puerto Rico Debt


Each of the municipal bond funds offered in the Aquila Group of Funds adheres to an investment strategy focused on investment grade bonds as a means of managing credit risk, and an intermediate average portfolio maturity as a means of managing interest rate risk. In keeping with our emphasis on high-quality holdings, the seven state-specific municipal bond funds offered by Aquila have no Puerto Rico holdings.

Yesterday Puerto Rico officially requested to enter bankruptcy to restructure roughly $70 billion in outstanding municipal bond debt. The restructuring will be the largest in the history of the US municipal bond market and signals the start of a long legal battle between the government and its creditors. The market has been anticipating this outcome for several years while the territory struggled with recession, declining reserves and a declining population.

On the Aquila Group of Funds website, you will find information regarding the investment strategies and full portfolio holdings of each state-specific municipal bond fund. The investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information will be found in the Fund prospectus. Information on the Fund holdings will be found in the Fact Sheet, Annual and Semi-Annual reports, and the Portfolio Holdings report for each Fund. We encourage you to review this information, and to visit the web site frequently for updates on each Fund, and our perspectives on the markets.


Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky Annual Shareholder Meeting


Shareholders of Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky are cordially invited to attend their annual shareholder meeting Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. in the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Brown & Williamson Club, University of Louisville, 2800 South Floyd Street, Louisville, KY. A buffet breakfast will be served prior to the meeting.

Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with Fund Executives, Trustees, the Portfolio Manager, and hear Ryan Barrow, Executive Director of the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, which is part of the Office of Financial Management. The Office is responsible for the investment and debt management functions of the Commonwealth, including conducting the state’s bond sales, which provide financing for major projects such as those in which your fund invests. Mr. Barrow was named one of 40 rising stars by Bond Buyer last year.

Please plan to attend.  We look forward to seeing you on April 20.


Are You Free of Your Tax Bill for the Year?


Tax return form with pen and calculator

Today is Tax Day and as you send in your 2016 tax forms, you might be surprised to learn that the nation will still be working to pay this year’s taxes.

Every year the Tax Foundation calculates Tax Freedom Day®, which determines the day the country has earned enough money collectively to pay its total tax bill. The calculation considers all federal, state, and local taxes and divides them by the nation’s income. For 2017, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 23rd. So, the average taxpayer will spend 113 days working to pay their taxes.

In another calculation, the Tax Foundation incorporates the federal deficit. When that is included, we will have to work another 14 days; until May 7th, to reach Tax Freedom Day.

The Foundation figures that America will spend more on taxes in 2017 than on food, clothing and housing combined. 

Read more “Are You Free of Your Tax Bill for the Year?”


Trustee, John C. Lucking, Retires


John C. Lucking has announced his retirement from the board of Aquila Municipal Trust, of which he was Chair, effective March 31, 2017.  His fellow Trustees, the Aquila Group of Funds and the staff of Aquila Investment Management LLC have benefited greatly from his personal integrity, considerable experience and valuable business insight, and we recognize and appreciate Mr. Lucking’s judgment, perseverance and skill throughout his long service as an independent Trustee.

On behalf of the Funds, we express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for Mr. Lucking’s contributions and for his dedication to the interests of the Funds’ shareholders.

Aquila Municipal Trust consists of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona, Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado, Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky, Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund, and Aquila Tax-Free Fund for Utah.


Defending Tax-Exempt Status of Municipal Bonds


On March 29, 2017 a coalition of 53 organizations representing city, county and state governments, utilities, critical infrastructure, public service providers, and municipal finance professionals sent a letter entitled Don’t Mess With Our Bonds to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and the House Ways and Means Committee to express their strong support for tax-exempt municipal bonds.  As stated in the letter, “Proposals to reduce or repeal the tax exemption would have a severely detrimental impact on national infrastructure development and the municipal bond market. Such proposals would clearly increase the borrowing costs of state and local governments and create uncertainty for investors.”

On March 9, 2017 a bi-partisan letter was sent by U.S. Congressmen to the House Ways and Means Committee asking that leadership reject any proposal to cap or eliminate the deduction on tax-exempt municipal bonds used to finance the vast majority of infrastructure projects in America’s communities.  The letter was signed by 156 Congressmen; 94 Democrats and 61 Republicans.

As Congress considers tax reform and infrastructure financing, those signing the letter expressed their strong support for tax-exempt municipal bonds as an important tool which, for more than a century, has provided states and local governments with a reliable and efficient means of financing.

Factors cited in support of maintaining the municipal bond tax-exemption include:

  • Municipal bonds are pro-growth investments which spur job creation, help our economies grow, and strengthen our communities
  • Millions of Americans depend on municipal bonds for their economic security, and invest in them because of their low-risk nature
  • Nearly 75% of municipal bond investors earn less than $200,000 per year, and more than 75% are 55 or older
  • A combination of local control and local responsibility make municipal bonds an incredibly effective and efficient tool
  • Federal tax exemption reduces the cost if issuing municipal bonds, but local voters pay the interest and principal on municipal bonds

The letter concludes by stating that the current tax-exempt status of municipal bonds contributes to efficient economic growth that benefits all Americans.

Separately on March 9th, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) commented on the American Society of Civil Engineers 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, saying “the 2017 ASCE Report Card clearly shows the desperate need for a strong commitment to infrastructure investment, which will help spur job creation and economic growth. SIFMA strongly advocates that the tax exemption for municipal bond interest remain intact, so that it may continue to help America’s cities and states boost their local economies through the construction of new projects such as roads, hospitals and schools.”

As Congress begins consideration of tax reform and infrastructure spending, we encourage you to contact your Congressional members to express your views on the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds.

Updated 4/3/2017


We Mourn the Passing of Trustee, Nancy Wilgenbusch


Nancy Wilgenbusch, an independent trustee of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon, passed away in February, 2017.  Ms. Nancy Wilgenbusch served with great integrity and distinction as a member of the Board of Trustees of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon since 2001.

Trustees and Officers of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon, and the staff of Aquila Investment Management LLC benefited greatly from her personal integrity, valuable business insight, and dedication to the interests of the shareholders of the Trust. All who worked with Ms. Wilgenbusch held her in high esteem and respected her unique and consistent ability to cut to the heart of any issue and make her points with strength and conviction.

On behalf of the Trust, we express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for Ms. Wilgenbusch’s contributions during her tenure as a Trustee of the Trust, and for her dedication to the interests of the Trust’s shareholders and the citizens of Oregon.


Barron’s cites Zach Miller on Ball Corp


Zach Miller, Co-Manager of Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund, was cited in a March 11, 2017 Barron’s article on Ball Corp, (BLL) the world’s largest maker of beverage cans

The investment strategy of Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund (a stock fund) begins in the high yield corporate bond market, where the Fund’s portfolio managers become familiar with high-yield issuers, their management teams, and corporate growth objectives.  A key component of the research process covers a firm’s ability to generate free cash flow, which is then available for a number of purposes, including paying down debt, which can improve the balance sheet and enhance the performance of the stock.

The Barron’s article makes mention of a Ball Corp “target of $300 million in cost savings and a doubling of free cash flow from premerger levels, to more than $1 billion by the end of 2019”.  Ball Corp recently merged with Rexam.

The article goes on to say “Zach Miller, co-manager of the Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth fund, thinks the stock can rise to $91 from a recent $73.35, as the benefits of the Rexam deal become more clear later in the year. Miller expects Ball’s adjusted Ebitda to grow 11% in 2018 to almost $2 billion, rising to nearly $2.2 billion in 2019, while analysts currently expect Ebitda of $1.92 billion next year and $2.05 billion in 2019.”

You will find more information regarding Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund on this site, including the Fund prospectus, fact sheet, and the latest quarter-end portfolio holdings.

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 on this site, from your financial adviser and when you call 800-437-1020.


2016 Shareholder Tax Forms Have Been Mailed Early


Every year, mutual fund companies must mail IRS Form 1099-B to their customers by February 15th.  Forms going out to Aquila Group of Funds direct shareholders were in the mail the week of February 6, 2017.

In the fall of 2008, the IRS enacted a new law which changed the 1099-B mailing deadline from January 31 to February 15.

The prompt delivery of year-end tax forms is just one example of the ways in which we strive to be exceptionally shareholder oriented in everything we do.