STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
COMMITTEE ON JOINT BUSINESS AFFAIRS & LABOR
|01:34 PM to 02:46 PM
|This Meeting was called to order by
|This Report was prepared by
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Governor's Office of Information Technology
Governor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade
01:35 PM -- Governor's Office of Information Technology
Michael Locatis, Director of the Governor's Office of Information Technology (OIT) and State Chief Information Officer, and John Conley, Deputy Director and Deputy State Chief Information Office for OIT, introduced themselves. Mr. Locatis began a PowerPoint presentation and distributed a handout of the presentation to the members of the committee (Attachment A). Mr. Locatis stated that the presentation would provide a briefing of the office's operations and its projects. Mr. Locatis discussed the background, statutory authority, and mission of OIT. Mr. Locatis discussed OIT's operational focus for Fiscal Year 2009-10, and stated that in addition to the programmatic responsibilities he had discussed previously, OIT is responsible for information technology (IT) project oversight and for the IT consolidation pursuant to Senate Bill 08-155. Mr. Locatis described the Digital Trunked Radio System (DTRS) and responded to a question from Representative Balmer concerning whether federal Homeland Security funds had been used to implement the DTRS. Mr. Locatis continued his presentation by discussing systems involving telecommunications.
Mr. Locatis indicated that OIT projects modernize a current system or implement a new system. Mr. Locatis described two OIT projects involving the Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS). Mr. Locatis described the project to transition the vendor that manages and hosts the CBMS. Representative Soper asked if changing vendors would result in a system that works, and stated that he had heard complaints about the system. Representative Soper expressed his hope that the office was not continuing to put "band-aids" on a system that was not working. Mr. Locatis stated that the CBMS realignment project addressed Representative Soper's concerns, and discussed the long wait needed to determine eligibility and the project's goal to realign the CBMS application so that Medicaid/Children's Basic Health Plan eligibility determinations can be performed independently from the eligibility determinations of other programs. Mr. Conley added that the transition of the CBMS from one vendor to the next does not procure a new system, but only procures the maintenance and operations of the existing system. Responding to a comment from Representative Soper that the system does not work in the first place, Mr. Conley stated that one in nine Coloradoans receive benefits from CBMS, and that the system works by and large. Mr. Conley noted that further enhancements and modifications could improve the system, and that each vendor builds upon the platform to make improvements.
Responding to a question from Senator Foster, Mr. Locatis stated that OIT supports the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) in its operation of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Responding to further questions from Senator Foster regarding the capability to improve claim processing, Mr. Conley clarified that CBMS and the Unemployment Insurance program are two different systems, and stated that a project described later in the presentation will address enhancements to the Unemployment Insurance system. Mr. Conley and Senator Foster continued to discuss possible solutions to the increased number of claims for Unemployment Insurance benefits.
Mr. Locatis continued his presentation. He described projects involving the Colorado Crime Information System, the Colorado Integrated Communications Network, the Colorado Integrated Tax Architecture, and the Mountain Plains States Consortium (MPSC) Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) systems. Responding to questions from Representative Gagliardi, Mr. Locatis stated that WIC is a project with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and that Colorado was one of three states picked by the federal government to fund and implement the development of the systems across the nation. Mr. Conley responded to a question from Representative Gagliardi concerning applications for food stamps by clarifying that food stamps are handled by CBMS, whereas WIC is a clinic-based system helping people get food assistance. He described the two systems and stated that there is no on-line process for food stamp eligibility determination. Mr. Conley explained that there are many benefits programs that are administered through different departments. In response to a question from Representative Gagliardi about the possibility of combining the different systems, Mr. Conley explained that each program was subject to different federal guidelines due to funding sources and needed to operate differently in order to receive federal matching funds. Mr. Conley stated that the guidelines had not caught up to available technology. Mr. Locatis added that many states are discussing the issue of combining systems, and described associations currently working with the federal government to re-calibrate how its grants are done. Mr. Locatis continued to discuss OIT projects including the Unemployment Insurance Internet Self-Service Project.
Mr. Locatis summarized Senate Bill 08-155, which gave OIT the authority to carry out a four-year, multi-phased IT Consolidation and Change Management Plan to fold state government's decentralized IT operations into OIT. Mr. Locatis discussed OIT's accomplishments since the bill went into effect on July 1, 2008. He described the Cell Phone Consolidation project, which saved approximately $600,000 without reducing service or increasing taxpayer cost, and the Pooling of Citrix Licenses project, which enabled the Department of State to avoid $180,000 in licensing costs for the Statewide Colorado Registration and Election System.
Mr. Locatis discussed the future direction of IT Consolidation. In response to a question from Representative Gagliardi concerning where the money saved by the IT Consolidation project goes, Mr. Conley replied that the General Fund portion of the savings are deposited in the General Revolving IT Fund to fund future IT Consolidation activities. Mr. Conley indicated that due to the current budget system, savings from the Cell Phone Consolidation Plan have not been moved and currently remain with the departments to backfill potential reductions or to reduce the budget. Mr. Conley explained that some consolidations, such as the license pooling project, result in cost-avoidance rather than savings. Mr. Conley stated that in the future, the General Fund portion of the savings will go to the General Revolving IT Fund, and the cash fund and federal fund portions of the savings will go back to the departments or will not be drawn down.
Mr. Locatis discussed relevant performance measures. Representative Gagliardi asked if the DTRS project made school phone and internet systems more integrated with the police. Mr. Locatis stated that projects were in place to allow first responders as well as school administrators to access the DTRS.
Senator Tochtrop asked if OIT had been looking at ways to cut funding or if they had been approached by Governor Ritter about possible cuts. Mr. Locatis stated that OIT talks to the governor as well as the executive directors of the departments to discuss reductions in IT expenses programmatically. Mr. Locatis indicated that IT components are part of the current reductions that had been proposed. Mr. Conley responded to questions from Senator Foster concerning a newly rented facility by indicating that OIT does not currently occupy or pay rent on the facility.
02:17 PM -- Governor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade
Alice Kotrlik, Deputy Director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and Matt Cheroutes, Director of Communications and External Affairs for OEDIT, introduced themselves. Ms. Kotrlik gave an overview of OEDIT and the office's budget. Ms. Kotrlik explained that much of the office's budget comes from gaming funds, and discussed the programs funded by gaming funds. She described the divisions of OEDIT, and indicated that the office had provided a brochure containing more details (Attachment B). Ms. Kotrlik also discussed a "highlighted fact sheet book" that contains information on every program that provides financial assistance to businesses. This book was not included in the material distributed to committee members.
(Attachment B can be viewed at Archives.)
Ms. Kotrlik explained the office's core objectives and discussed a document that had been provided to the Joint Budget Committee (Attachment C). Ms. Kotrlik explained the office's targeted industries and stated that all core measurements are based on the fiscal year except for the measurements for the Colorado Tourism Office, which are measured on a calendar year basis.
Matt Cheroutes gave an outline of the office's strategy for Colorado's economic development. He described the office's current projects and objectives. He also discussed the office's response to the economic downturn, and noted that the office had been involved in small business finance forums around the state and had retooled its legislative package.
Senator Heath indicated that he was sponsoring some of the bills Mr. Cheroutes had mentioned. He asked Mr. Cheroutes to compare Colorado's actions to the actions of other states. Mr. Cheroutes stated that Colorado is competing on a global level and is not known for being able to offer necessary incentives for economic development, and that now is the time to be aggressive. Mr. Cheroutes discussed recent successes in providing incentives to attract businesses, and also noted that there had been failures to seize opportunities as a result of lacking tools and resources.
Senator Veiga asked Mr. Cheroutes to address whether the office can determine if there is a better way to utilize the funds in the Enterprise Zone Program. She asked if it was feasible for the office to apply the targeting approach used in other programs to the Enterprise Zone Program. Mr. Cheroutes indicated that the office had been exploring options and had discussed areas for improvement. He stated that the office had submitted recommendations for improvements and that the office would continue to engage in a dialogue about the program. Ms. Kotrlik added that efforts to reduce credits in the Enterprise Zone Program may create issues with the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights (TABOR).
Responding to questions from Senator Foster, Ms. Kotrlik explained why the office did not pick up Denver's China office when it closed and discussed the contacts and business prospects that had resulted from OEDIT's trip to Asia. In response to further questions, Ms. Kotrlik stated that OEDIT's only foreign office is located in Mexico. Mr. Cheroutes noted that OEDIT is statutorily required to present information about its International Trade Office to the Joint Finance Committee, but that the office would provide such information to the Business Committees.
Responding to a question from Senator Heath, Mr. Cheroutes discussed Colorado's progress concerning contracts for direct flights from Japan.
Representative Priola discussed the importance of business relationships and noted that Colorado has much to offer due to the high cost-of-living in Japan. Responding to a request from Senator Veiga, Ms. Kotrlik discussed the Colorado Job Creation Performance Incentive Fund and a document providing information about the fund (Attachment D). Mr. Cheroutes added that this document satisfies the statutory requirement for a presentation by the Economic Development Commission.
The committee adjourned.