2018 Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado Annual Shareholder Meeting in Denver


Shareholders of Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado are cordially invited to attend their 31st annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the Wellshire Event Center, Cambridge Room, 3333 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, Colorado. Light refreshments will be served prior to the meeting.

Jason Schrock

Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with Fund Executives, Trustees, the Portfolio Manager and hear Jason Schrock, Deputy Director at the Colorado Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting. The primary duty of the Office is to provide the Governor with timely and complete information and recommendations, so he can make sound public policy and budget decisions. Mr. Schrock will speak about the Colorado economy.

We look forward to seeing you on May 16th.


Are You Free of Your Tax Bill for the Year?


Tax return form with pen and calculator

Tax Day is next week and as you send in your 2017 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 2018, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 19th. So, the average taxpayer will spend 109 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 17 days; until May 6th, to reach Tax Freedom Day.

The Foundation figures that Americans will spend more on taxes in 2018 than on food, clothing and housing combined.

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


Tony Tanner joins Aquila Investment Management LLC


Aquila announces future portfolio manager retirement, and new member of investment management team

Todd Curtis

Aquila Investment Management LLC (“AIM”), Advisor and Administrator to Aquila Group of Funds, announces the future retirement of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona (“ATFTA”) lead portfolio manager, Todd Curtis, and welcomes Anthony (Tony) Tanner as a new member of its portfolio management team.

Mr. Curtis became an employee of AIM and Senior Vice President/Portfolio Manager of ATFTA in 2004, and was previously an employee of the Fund’s former sub-adviser and its predecessors, where he served as portfolio manager of ATFTA since its inception in 1986.  Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Mr. Curtis serves as the ATFTA lead portfolio manager.  He also serves as a member of the portfolio management teams of Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky and Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah.

Though Mr. Curtis will not officially retire from his position as portfolio manager until April 30, 2018, AIM has added a new portfolio manager to its portfolio management team in order to facilitate continuity of management and a smooth transition, in conjunction with other members of the portfolio management team. After his April 30, 2018 retirement, Mr. Curtis will continue in a consultant role with AIM.

Tony Tanner

Tony Tanner, based in Phoenix, Arizona, joined the Aquila Investment Management LLC portfolio management team on March 7, 2018.  In addition to being a member of the portfolio management team for ATFTA, Mr. Tanner has joined Mr. Curtis, JT Thompson and Royden Durham as a member of the portfolio management teams of Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah and Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky.   Upon Mr. Curtis’s retirement, Mr. Tanner will serve as lead portfolio manager of ATFTA. The investment objective and principal investment strategy of the Fund will remain unchanged.

Mr. Tanner is a 30-year veteran of financial services with over 20 years of buy-side industry experience managing fixed income and multi-asset class portfolios for mutual funds, institutions, and ultra-high net worth clients.  He comes to AIM from BNY Mellon Wealth Management, where he was a Senior Portfolio Manager, serving high net worth families and institutions across Arizona.

Over the last 15 years, Mr. Tanner has worked in the Arizona wealth community.  This experience included establishing an investment advisory firm that provided dedicated fixed income portfolio management for clients in Arizona, New York, and California.  He also served as Director of Fixed Income for a Scottsdale investment advisory firm.  He then joined Wells Fargo Private Bank in 2010 as part of its National Fixed Income Strategies Team, where he managed fixed income and multi-asset class portfolios for their larger clients in Arizona, Southern California, and Nevada, and he served on the Global Fixed Income Council where he helped lead their tax-exempt strategy efforts until 2014.

Before relocating to Arizona, Mr. Tanner helped lead the Rochester Division of OppenheimerFunds from 1991-2003, as co-manager of their flagship municipal bond product line, during which time assets grew from $300 million to over $12 billion.   He also directed the research efforts of the closely-held mutual fund complex through its acquisition by OppenheimerFunds.

Mr. Tanner received an MBA in finance from the University of Rochester, Simon Business School, and a Bachelor’s degree in business from St. Louis University.  He is a is a CFA® charterholder and a member of the CFA® Institute and the Phoenix CFA® Society.  He also serves on the Finance and Investment Committee of the Catholic Community Foundation, Phoenix Diocese.


Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund Annual Shareholder Meeting


Shareholders of Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund are cordially invited to attend their annual shareholder meeting Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Room 551A/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 award winning reporter, Ted Nesi of WPRI 12 Eyewitness News.

In 2011, Mr. Nesi was picked as one of the top four up-and-coming political bloggers nationwide by Politico and The Washington Post named his “Nesi’s Notes” one of the best state political blogs in the country. Last year Mr. Nesi won a New England Emmy Award for investigative reporting. Mr. Nesi has appeared on “CBS This Morning,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” Rhode Island PBS’s “A Lively Experiment. His reporting has been cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg News, and Forbes.

Please plan to attend. We look forward to seeing you on April 26.


Liz Claman interviews JT Thompson


On January 30, 2018, JT Thompson, Portfolio Manager of Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah, was interviewed by Liz Claman, Financial Journalist and TV Host, for Asset TV.  Topics discussed during the interview include the impact of tax reform legislation on the municipal bond market, the importance of the revenue stream that secures a municipal bond, the appeal to investors of investing locally through municipal bonds, and opportunities in the municipal bond market.  You will find more information on the Fund, including the Prospectus, on this site.


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.


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 19, 2018 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 19.


The Right Time for a Cautious Strategy?


There has been good news on the economic front recently:  global trade has improved significantly, wage growth is beginning to rise, and the unemployment rate is falling, although the underemployment rate (focused on advanced skills not being used) remains over 8%.  With some improvement in the economy, the Fed, along with other major central banks, is moving toward a reduction in monetary stimulus.  Even so, a new Fed President is likely to move cautiously in his first year, trying to avoid market dislocations.

The potential for an uptick in inflation appears to be a possibility under the combined influence of improved economic growth, a tightening labor market, and the potentially stimulative effect of tax cuts.  A number of market observers are anticipating that the Fed could implement several rate increases of 25 basis points over the course of 2018, if economic growth and inflation appear to be stable or rising, and that we could see a yield of 3% on the 10-year Treasury.

In the current market environment, caution may be an appropriate strategy for bond investors.


There are favorable technical conditions present in the municipal bond market currently.  New issue supply in 2018 is expected to be lower while demand for tax-exempt bonds from individual investors in high-tax states is expected to rise.  Those dynamics may mitigate volatility in the municipal market.  There is also a potential benefit associated with higher rates in that they can provide an opportunity to invest the proceeds of maturing bonds in issues with a higher yield. Read more “The Right Time for a Cautious Strategy?”


Municipal Bonds and Tax Legislation


On December 20, 2017, the U.S. House and Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the President signed the legislation on December 22, 2017.

Significant aspects of the legislation, related to municipal bonds, include:

  • Preservation of the tax exemption applicable to interest on public purpose state and local government bonds
  • Preservation of the tax exemption applicable to interest on qualified private activity bonds
  • Advance refunding bonds issued after December 31, 2017 will no longer be tax exempt

Generally, efforts to retain the tax exemptions applicable to municipal bonds were successful.  In anticipation of the change in status of advance refunding bonds, many issuers across the country have been bringing new advance refunding bonds to market ahead of the year-end deadline, increasing near-term supply.  Going forward, the available supply of municipal bonds may be reduced by a decline in this type of issuance.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the alternative minimum tax, “on individuals, a parallel tax that disallows personal exemptions and state deductions for high-earning households, is narrowed. As a result, the Tax Policy Center estimates, only 200,000 households will likely pay it instead of 5.2 million.”


Updated 2017 Capital Gain Information


UPDATED:  Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund paid a capital gain distribution on December 1, 2017 in the amounts indicated below.                         Printable Version


Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund                            $0.42                    $2.29

Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund:  The fund had a record date of November 30, 2017, an ex-date of December 1, 2017, a payable date of December 1, 2017, and a reinvestment date of December 1, 2017.


The funds listed below may pay a capital gain distribution in December, 2017.  The amount reflected represents an estimate, per share, as of the date indicated.



Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund1                             $0.00                    $0.01

Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona2                                       $0.00                    $0.02

Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky2                      $0.00                    $0.01

1 The total amount of the capital gain above cannot be reduced by any losses taken in November, 2017.

Represents undistributed gains from fiscal year 2017 which must be distributed in 2017 and which cannot be reduced. Read more “Updated 2017 Capital Gain Information”


Pre-Refunded Bonds: A Quick Lesson


All seven of Aquila Group of Funds’ Single-State Municipal Bond Funds, which focus on high credit quality and providing a high level of double tax-exempt income, hold Pre-Refunded Municipal Bonds. These bond issues – when backed by US Treasury Securities – are considered to be the highest-quality, and often provide higher current income than new municipal bond issues during periods of declining interest rates.

What is a pre-refunded municipal bond?

Just like home owners, in declining interest rate environments, municipalities often take the opportunity to refinance their outstanding debt – but it’s not as simple as taking out an additional loan to pay off what is due. Bond issuers are obligated to pay interest to bond holders for a specific amount of time – to maturity or a call date. Interest rates may drop to an attractive level years before the call date or maturity – and this may present the opportunity for a bond issue to become pre-refunded.

Here is how it works:

  • Bond X is issued in 2010 to fund new roads at a 5.5% interest rate with a 30-year maturity in which the issuer is permitted to pre-pay or “call” in 2020.
  • Interest rates drop in 2014 to 3.0% – 6 years prior to the first call date for Bond X.
  • The issuer of Bond X issues Bond Y in 2014 at a 3% interest rate.
  • The proceeds from the sale of Bond Y are invested in a combination of securities and cash, in this case US Treasury securities, which are held in an escrow account administered by a trustee with a 2020 maturity corresponding to the call date of Bond X.
  • Now Bond X is backed by Moody’s/Fitch Aaa/AAA rated US Treasury securities and is a pre-refunded bond issue.
  • In some cases pre-refunded bonds are defeased, which means that the bonds have gone from being an obligation of the issuer to an obligation supported by securities held in the escrow fund, or in this case by US Treasury securities. After defeasance, the bonds are no longer considered an obligation of the issuer.

Read more “Pre-Refunded Bonds: A Quick Lesson”