BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1070
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Representative Peniston, chair, called the meeting to order.
01:34 PM -- House Bill 09-1070
Representative Peniston explained that House Bill 09-1070 was heard by the committee on February 5, 2009, and was laid over to continue witness testimony on February 10th. She explained that the committee would complete witness testimony, but the bill would be laid over to allow some of the stakeholders affected by the bill to reach a potential compromise prior to final action by the committee.
Representative Fischer, prime sponsor of House Bill 09-1070, concerning lands prohibited from urban renewal authorities (URAs), addressed the committee and asked that testimony proceed.
Stephanie Thomas, representing the Colorado Environmental Coalition and Autobahn Colorado, testified in support of the bill and talked about misuse of the state's urban renewal law. She discussed improper uses of the urban renewal law and talked about urban renewal projects undertaken by the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. She also talked about the abuses of urban renewal through projects that implement tax increment financing (TIF).
Dan Daly, Colorado Education Association, testified in support of the bill and discussed the state's obligation to pay for property tax increases to school districts in the state that result from TIF projects. Mr. Daly discussed mill levies, local tax collection by school districts, the need to protect the tax base of school districts. He explained that the bill would allow school districts to consider the impact of redirecting revenue prior to the approval of TIF projects.
Landon Gates, representing the Colorado Farm Bureau and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, testified in support of the bill and talked about the need to preserve agricultural land and also individual property rights. Mr. Gates explained that the original intent of urban renewal law was for redevelopment and not new development. He addressed questions from the committee concerning open lands and agricultural property that is dormant or fallow.
Evan Goulding, Executive Director, Colorado Special District Association, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Goulding explained that the bill would make TIF projects more balanced and fair by requiring stakeholders to approve development of vacant and agricultural land considered for a TIF project. He explained that TIF projects increase the need for services, but that property tax revenue to special districts is frozen by the TIF mechanisms. He talked about the requirement in the bill that would require an impact report for special districts in order to assess the growth and development of TIF projects and determine how services in the TIF area will be provided. Mr. Goulding addressed questions regarding negotiations that currently occur between URAs and special districts for services in TIF areas.
Paul Cook, Director, Colorado Fire Chiefs Association, testified in support of the bill and discussed problems with TIF projects that freeze the property taxes for special districts. He explained that TIF projects create new development, but special districts do not receive increased tax revenue in order to provide the resources for proper emergency services in developed areas.
Kathay Rennels, County Commissioner, Larimer County, testified in support of the bill, talked about the intent of urban renewal law, and discussed the problems with the current definition of "blight" in state law. Commissioner Rennels discussed URAs in Larimer County and talked about the difficulty of maintaining the quality of life and service levels to taxpayers when TIF limits the amount of tax revenue collected. She responded to questions concerning notifications about TIF projects provided to local entities that are impacted and explained that current law creates a tendency for special districts to be excluded from negotiations by URAs about potential TIF projects.
Representative Fischer explained that the bill would require consensus from all of the entities affected by a URA project before vacant or agricultural land can be included into the project. He talked about the need for different parties impacted by House Bill 09-1070 to reach a compromise before proceeding with amendments to the bill.
The chair, Representative Peniston, laid House Bill 09-1070 was laid over for action only.