04/20/2017

Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado Annual Shareholder Meeting

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Shareholders of Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado are cordially invited to attend their annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, May 17, 2017 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.

Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with Fund Executives, Trustees, the Portfolio Manager and hear Tom Binnings, Senior Partner of Summit Economics LLC, an applied economics research and consulting firm. Mr. Binning has more than 35 years of experience in project management, economic and market research, business start-ups and turnarounds, real estate development, business analytics, public policy, and strategic planning. Mr. Binnings will speak about the Colorado and national economy.

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

04/19/2017

Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon Annual Shareholder Meeting

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Shareholders of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon are cordially invited to attend their annual shareholder meeting Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at the Oregon Convention Center, Meeting Rooms F150-151, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, Oregon. Light refreshments will be served prior to the meeting and parking will be validated at the end of the meeting.

Those unable to attend the Portland meeting may be interested in attending a special outreach informational meeting in Eugene at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. That meeting will take place at the Valley River Inn, North & Middle Columbia Ballrooms, 1000 Valley River Way, Eugene, Oregon. Light refreshments will also be served prior to the meeting.

Attendees to both meetings will have the opportunity to visit with Fund Executives, Trustees, the Portfolio Manager and hear renowned Oregon economist and Trustee, John Mitchell, speak about the Oregon and national economy. Mr. Mitchell is principal of M & H Economic Consultants of Portland. He is a past chairman of the Oregon Council of Economic Advisors, and former chief economist of U.S. Bancorp.

Please plan to attend one of these meetings. We look forward to seeing you in either Portland or Eugene.

04/19/2017

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 Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Room 555, 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 Lara Salamano, Chief Marketing Officer of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, speak about the impact it has on the Rhode Island economy.

Ms. Salamano, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, is leading a coordinated statewide marketing campaign to bring more tourists and businesses to Rhode Island.

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

04/19/2017

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 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.

04/18/2017

Are You Free of Your Tax Bill for the Year?

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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?”

03/17/2017

Defending Tax-Exempt Status of Municipal Bonds

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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

03/16/2017

We Mourn the Passing of Trustee, Nancy Wilgenbusch

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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.

02/07/2017

A Good Time for Munis

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Asset TV Interview:  Is it a good time to consider municipal bonds?

Aquila Group of Funds portfolio manager, JT Thompson, was interviewed in January, 2017 by Asset TV for a program regarding opportunities in the municipal bond market.  Mr. Thompson highlights objectives of the new administration, such as infrastructure spending, tax reform and regulatory reform, and the need for portfolio managers to be nimble in order to take advantage of any opportunities resulting from these initiatives.  JT also discussed other key topics of interest to municipal bond investors.

We think you’ll find the interview insightful and informative.


Each Aquila Group of Funds state-specific municipal bond fund in invests in investment grade bonds and maintains an average intermediate portfolio maturity, in order to manage credit and interest rate risk.

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

If you experience difficulty viewing this video on your equipment, you may also view it by registering (at no cost) on the Asset TV site.

01/03/2017

Aquila Group of Funds’ Municipal Bond Funds Recognized by U.S. News and World Report

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Aquila Group of Funds’ seven single state municipal bond funds were recently included in a US News and World Report Best Funds list for Municipal Single State Intermediate Funds.

For over 30 years, we have sought to provide municipal bond fund investors with double tax-exempt income and preservation of capital. We seek to manage interest rate and credit risk by consistently maintaining broadly-diversified, high-quality bond portfolios with an intermediate average maturity.

Our locally based portfolio managers and credit analysts have an up-close perspective on bond issuers and the economy in their states. We believe this gives them valuable insights about the economic and political climate of the state and the financing needs and the capabilities of individual issuers.

The U.S. News Mutual Fund scores assigned to the 65 funds included in the Municipal Single State Intermediate Category is produced using an equal weighting of the overall ratings provided by their data sources (Morningstar, S&P, Lipper Leaders, Zacks, and TheStreet.com ), and was published on 11/22/16. Individual fund rating systems are normalized to a 100-point scale based on point totals assigned to individual scoring systems. For example, each star from Morningstar would receive 20 points. The U.S. News score is calculated by dividing total points awarded according to their system by the five data sources. The Combined U.S. News Mutual Fund Score ranks funds numerically based on the score and funds with identical scores are awarded the same numerical ranking.

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

12/14/2016

Municipal Market Outlook

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Due to the recent outcome of the U.S. Election, and the accompanying expectation of a large infrastructure spending program that could increase inflationary pressures, the municipal market has experienced an increase in municipal yields and a decline in market values. While there is significant uncertainty concerning policy changes that may be implemented by the new administration, there are still overall positive underlying themes to the municipal market that we think investors should keep in mind.

• Interest rate increases tend to reduce the supply of new municipal bond issuance coming to market which helps mitigate supply/demand imbalances.

• Muni bond yields, as a percentage of Treasuries, which are relatively attractive at these levels, have historically encouraged traditional taxable buyers to cross-over into the municipal bond market.

• An increase in the Federal Funds rate had been widely-anticipated by the markets, based on commentary from the Fed, and was likely reflected in recent bond prices.  A wide range of economic factors, domestically and globally, will affect the markets’ reaction to the rate increase.

• There have been occasions, over the past 10 years, when the municipal bond market sold off. At some level, buyers were attracted by the values seen in municipal bonds, and the market subsequently rebounded, as illustrated below. This past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Index chart

 

We expect market volatility to continue until we get more clarity on President-elect Trump’s policies and his ability to pass the proposals he offered during his campaign through Congress. We have positioned our municipal portfolios in anticipation of higher rates, and with the expectation of potentially being able to take advantage of buying opportunities.