03/07/2019

Celebrating Our 35th Anniversary

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Our History, People and Distinctive Strategy

Diana P. Herrmann, President & CEO, Aquila Investment Management LLC

Diana P. Herrmann, President & CEO, Aquila Investment Management LLC

Lacy Herrmann, Aquila’s founder, was one of the earlier pioneers in money market funds beginning in the mid-1970s. By the early 1980s, a handful of state-specific municipal bond mutual funds were being offered in states with large populations and higher tax rates, such as California, New York and Massachusetts.  Mr. Herrmann was intrigued with the concept of launching similar funds in other states.

Since the inception of Aquila Management Corporation 35 years ago, Aquila Group of Funds has grown into a nine-fund family with seven state specific municipal bond funds, a high-yield corporate bond fund, and an equity fund.  Through the years, however, Aquila has maintained its shareholder- and advisor-centric approach, as CEO, Diana Herrmann explains. Read more “Celebrating Our 35th Anniversary”

02/25/2019

Early tax returns are demonstrating the importance of tax-exempt income

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Many Americans are anxious to find out what the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) means for their 2018 filings, and early returns being filed now are giving us some clues. It appears that quite a few taxpayers will either be getting smaller refunds than last year, or may even be owing the government more money than they had in the past.

There were some very visible changes to tax law with the TCJA of 2017. One was the standard deduction increase which is now $12,000 for single filers, and $24,000 for married filing jointly – up from $6,350 and $12,700, respectively. While this may seem like a boon for most taxpayers who can now take almost double the standard deduction available in the previous year, the benefit has been dampened by another more visible tax law change – the State and Local Tax deduction limit, commonly referred to as the “SALT” deduction. The $10,000 cap on SALT deductions may not seem like a big deal at first, but the Personal Property Tax deduction – property taxes paid on homes, cars, boats, etc. – is no longer unlimited. This hits high-tax states such as New York, California, and Connecticut, among others, particularly hard. Taxpayers in these states may have been accustomed to deducting as much as two to three times the current cap for their property taxes alone. The SALT cap potentially puts many more families close to the standard deduction, where it may no longer make sense for them to itemize their taxes. Read more “Early tax returns are demonstrating the importance of tax-exempt income”

02/05/2019

Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund Annual Shareholder Meeting

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Shareholders of Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund are cordially invited to attend their annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Room 556 A/B, One Sabin Street, Providence, Rhode Island. 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 from the President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, Iftikhar Ahmad.

In his role, Mr. Ahmad oversees all six airports in Rhode Island, including T. F. Green International Airport. The Rhode Island Airport Corporation has an annual economic impact of $2.6B with 22,443 direct and indirect jobs. Mr. Ahmad also serves as a United States’ civil aviation expert to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in an advisory capacity.

Prior to Rhode Island, Mr. Ahmad served in various Director roles of several major airports, where he has coordinated approximately $5B worth of capital work in his career. This included New Orleans International Airport, where he was responsible for the additional of a new terminal.  Mr. Ahmad has also overseen major capital programs at airports in Nashville and Houston.

Please plan to attend. We look forward to seeing you on March 19.

02/05/2019

Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky Annual Shareholder Meeting

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Shareholders of Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky are cordially invited to attend their annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. at The Olmsted, 3701 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky. A buffet breakfast will be served prior to the meeting. Ryan Barrow

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 in 2016.

Please plan to attend.  We look forward to seeing you on April 17.

02/05/2019

Aquila Municipal Bond Funds Continue to Avoid Puerto Rico Debt

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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 continue to have no Puerto Rico holdings.

The commonwealth of Puerto Rico has been grappling with budgetary issues since 2014, which has generated attention in the municipal bond market, and in the media as the island territory has worked toward recovery over the past several years.

In June of 2014, the Puerto Rico Governor signed the Puerto Rico Public Company Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act, which would enable public corporations (power and transportation agencies) to restructure their debt through a process similar to bankruptcy. Puerto Rico, like the states, cannot file for Chapter 9 federal bankruptcy protection. Response to the legislation was swift, and prices on certain Puerto Rico agency bonds dropped abruptly, and lawsuits were filed challenging the constitutionality of the legislation. The US District Court of Puerto Rico found the recovery act unconstitutional, followed by the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and in June of 2016, the Supreme Court ruled the legislation was impermissible. The Supreme Court voted 5-2, stating that the Commonwealth was not entitled to establish its own restructuring process, which is prohibited by the Bankruptcy Code.

The Associate Press reported on February 4, 2019, that a federal judge approved a large debt restructuring deal for Puerto Rico, which involves over $17 billion worth of government bonds backed by a sales-and-use-tax. Read more “Aquila Municipal Bond Funds Continue to Avoid Puerto Rico Debt”

01/17/2019

JT Thompson discusses 2019 Outlook with Liz Claman

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On January 11, 2019, JT Thompson, lead portfolio manager of Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah, was interviewed for AssetTV by Liz Claman.  Mr. Thompson discussed his outlook for 2019, possible Fed actions, and characteristics of the municipal bond market.

Read The Transcript

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.

12/28/2018

Final 2018 Capital Gain Distributions

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Following are capital gain distributions paid on December 6, 2018.

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

Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth  Fund                    $0.01763                $6.01221

 

Following are capital gain distributions paid on December 28, 2018.

December 28, 2018 Capital Gail Distributions                      Short-Term           Long-Term

Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona1                                         $0.00                     $0.02566

Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky1                       $0.00                     $0.01609

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

Capital gains distributions for Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona and Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky 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.

 Printable Version

 

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

The funds listed below made no capital gain distribution for 2018.

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.

12/19/2018

Kentucky attempts to address pension reform in special session

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Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin called a special legislative session on December 17, 2018 for the review of state pension reform legislation, after the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned pension reform law passed in spring, 2018. The Governor, in describing the need for a special session, cited recent questions from bond rating agencies, and said that Kentucky’s public retirement plans require immediate attention.  During the special session, Kentucky legislators were to have considered House Bills 1 and 2. In announcing the special legislative session, Governor Bevin said “the only chance we have for those working toward retirement is to change the system going forward”.

In comments regarding the special session, Sen. Morgan McGarvey, a Louisville Democrat just elected minority floor leader, said “we all know the unfunded pension liability is a problem”. In a letter sent by M. Stephen Pitt, general counsel for Bevin, to members of the General Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Pitt stated that the credit markets need certainty now, and “HB 1 was drafted and proposed to provide such certainty”.

On the evening of December 18, 2018, the special session was adjourned, with the explanation that there was insufficient time to consider the proposed bills.  Any further legislative action on pension reform will be taken up once the regular legislative session begins on January 8, 2019 when, it is hoped, the political will can be found to address the pension funding issues.

Earlier this year, S&P lowered Kentucky’s rating to A from A-plus while Moody’s reduced the rating to Aa3 from Aa2, with both agencies citing the rising cost of pension obligations and revenue constraints. As of December 19, 2018, the agencies had not released revised opinions on their ratings.

Meanwhile, positive economic results for Kentucky were reported in the Urban Institute’s State Tax and Economic Review for Q2 2018, published December 18, 2018.  Year-over-year (Q2 2018 vs. Q2 2017), personal income tax receipts increased by 3.7%, sales tax receipts increased by 3.4% and total State tax revenues increased by 2.9%.

We maintain our objective of managing interest rate risk and credit risk while keeping over 90% of the portfolio rated A or higher. We believe that one of the benefits of owning shares in Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky is having the resources of local portfolio management and credit analysis. We will be monitoring the progress of pension reform in the state, along with the local economic and political environment.

For specific information about Fund characteristics and performance please see the Fund Fact Sheet and Fund Holdings located on our website at www.aquilafunds.com.

 

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.