Colorado Legislative Council Staff



TABOR Refund Impact

State General Fund Revenue and Expenditure Impact

Local Expenditure Impact

Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 98-595

Rep. Kaufman

Sen. Dennis


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

February 11, 1998

House Judiciary

Susan Colling (866-4784)



Summary of Legislation

            This bill would make it a criminal offense when a person trespasses on railroad property, intentionally or recklessly disregards railroad property and the safety of another, commits theft of railroad freight from any freight car, or receives stolen freight. The bill makes it a class 3 misdemeanor for trespassing and an unclassified misdemeanor if the offense does not exceed $500 in damages and there is no bodily injury. If the property damage is more than $500 and bodily injury occurs, the offense is an unclassified felony punishable by a fine and/ or a term of imprisonment. The bill makes it an unclassified felony for theft from a railroad freight car or receiving stolen freight.


FY 1998/99

FY 1999/2000

State Revenues

General Fund

Fine revenue

(less than $10,000)

Fine revenue

(less than $10,000)

State Expenditures

General Fund

Other Fund



FTE Position Change



Local Government Impact — See Local Government Section below.

State Revenues

            The bill would have a fiscal impact on General Fund revenue from felony and misdemeanor fines. The bill establishes trespassing on railroad property as a class 3 misdemeanor that carries a fine between $50 and $750, and/ or a term of imprisonment in the county jail for six months. The unclassified misdemeanor proposed in the bill would carry a $500 fine and/ or a six month jail sentence. Additionally, an offense involving property damage that exceeds $500 or involves bodily injury, carries a fine penalty of not more than $10,000 or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 years in prison, or both. For offenses that involve serious bodily injury or death, a person may be subject to a fine of not more than $20,000 and/ or a term of imprisonment for not more than 20 years in prison. Although data are not available to determine the amount that would be assessed and collected, the collection of fines from these misdemeanors would have a fiscal impact on General Fund revenue.

TABOR Refund Impact

            Section 20 of Article X of the Colorado Constitution, limits the maximum annual percentage increase in state fiscal year spending. Once total state revenue from all sources that are not specifically excluded from fiscal year spending exceeds these limits for the fiscal year, the state constitution requires that the excess shall be refunded in the next fiscal year unless voters approve a revenue change as an offset. Based on the current Legislative Council economic forecast, it is projected that the state will be in a TABOR refund position during each of the next five fiscal years. Any increase or decrease in state revenue from changes in fees, fines, licenses, or other revenue sources will affect the amount of the state revenue to be refunded.

State Expenditures

            The bill would have an impact on the Department of Corrections (DOC) from convictions of the unclassified felonies. Offenders sentenced to prison under the provisions of the bill would also be required to complete a mandatory period of parole of two years. This fiscal note is based on data from the DOC that analyzed existing statutes for criminal trespassing, vandalism, theft, and receiving stolen property. It is assumed based on this analysis, that one additional offender will be sentenced to the DOC every five years under each of the bill’s sentencing options (5, 10, and 20 years). Since these are unclassified felonies, it is assumed that offenders would serve 50 percent of their sentence, with estimated lengths of stay of 30, 60 and 120 months. Therefore, it is anticipated that three offenders every five years would be sentenced to the DOC beginning in FY 1999-00, resulting in an appropriation of $41,887 General Fund in FY 1998-99.

Five-Year Fiscal Impact on Correctional Facilities

            Pursuant to Section 2-2-703, C.R.S., which requires that bills which would result in a net increase in periods of imprisonment not be passed without five years of appropriations for prison bed construction and operating costs, the following analysis is provided. Construction costs are estimated to be $69,811 per bed and operating costs $23,352 per bed. It should be noted that the construction costs reflect the funding needed to construct the beds in the fiscal year prior to when the additional offenders would enter the system.


Fiscal Year

ADA Impact

Construction Cost

Operating Cost

Total Cost

FY 98-99





FY 99-2000





FY 2000-2001





FY 2001-2002





FY 2002-2003










Local Government Impact

            The bill would have a fiscal impact on local units of government. Since the bill establishes a Class 3 misdemeanor and an unclassified misdemeanor that carry a penalty of a possible jail sentence, there may be an impact to the county jails. Data are not available to determine the impact, however, it is anticipated that any impact on the county jails would be minimal.

Spending Authority

            The fiscal note indicates that the Department of Corrections should be appropriated $41,887 General Fund in FY 1998-99 and the remaining five year appropriation of $263,412 General fund (pursuant to Section 2-2-703, C.R.S.).

Departments Contacted

            Department of Corrections


            Legislative Council

            State Public Defender