BILL SUMMARY for SB09-297
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Refer Senate Bill 09-297 to the Committee of the W||PASS|
04:16 PM -- Senate Bill 09-297
Representative Judd, prime sponsor, explained the provisions of SB 09-297 which modifies state law concerning the approval of contracts for projects funded through the federal stimulus package (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). He indicated that the bill would make it easier for the state to spend the stimulus money if necessary under certain conditions. He summarized the existing system for the state spending of money on projects. He indicated that because there are a lot of checks and oversight, the state's processes for spending money can take more time than is allowable under the guidelines for spending the stimulus money. Thus, the bill provides for a waiver, if needed, for state agencies to spend the stimulus money more quickly. He discussed the process for agencies to obtain a waiver allowed by the bill.
The following persons testified:
04:20 PM -- Matt Futch, representing the Governor's Energy Office (GEO), testified in support of the bill. He explained why the bill was needed. He stated that it provides a clear process for state agencies to receive and use the federal stimulus money. He also discussed the bill's provisions that allow the state to spend the stimulus money more quickly than allowed under current law. He discussed the ways in which the spending of the money will be transparent and accountable. For example, there are federal government guidelines designed to make the stimulus spending accountable and there will be a state board monitoring how the money will be spent.
The committee discussed when the state's guidelines for the monitoring of the spending of the stimulus money will be in place. It also discussed what types of projects the money must be used for by the GEO. Representative Lambert asked about the implications of using one-time stimulus money to fund energy-related incentive programs. Mr. Futch indicated that the GEO is considering using some of the money to create a revolving loan fund program that could be a perpetual program.
Representative Swalm discussed his concerns with the impetus on spending the federal stimulus money quickly.
04:40 PM -- Gene Camp, representing the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), testified in support of the bill. He discussed how utility companies can use the federal stimulus money to improve energy consumption and energy systems. The committee discussed the types of energy projects the federal stimulus money could be used for in the state.
The committee continued to discuss the spending of federal stimulus money and the potential consequences of the need to spend the money relatively quickly. Mr. Camp indicated he was not concerned with any negative consequences of spending the money quickly because the PUC has a good process for selecting energy-related projects to fund. The committee discussed whether the money will be spent effectively and whether it will beneficially affect consumers and energy consumption in the state.
04:52 PM -- Herman Stockinger, representing the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), testified in support of the bill. He discussed the existing guidelines for CDOT's spending of federal stimulus money. He stated that CDOT has strict deadlines for the spending of the money and that if the department does not spend a certain amount of money by an upcoming deadline, it will lose all of its federal stimulus funds. It would also lose any money from other states that do not spend a portion of their money by the set deadlines.
He indicated that CDOT has already obligated 95 percent of the money it must obligate by the June 30, 2009, deadline, and that he is confident that the department will meet its deadlines. He stated that CDOT did not want, nor intend, to use the waiver provided by SB 09-297. However, he thought the bill was necessary just in case CDOT encounters unexpected future delays.
Representative Gerou discussed her concerns with the large federal government debt resulting from the federal stimulus.
Mr. Stockinger indicated that the federal stimulus money would increase CDOT's budget by about $400 million in both FY 2008-09 and FY 2009-10. However, even with the stimulus money, CDOT's budget in these years is less than its FY 2007-08 budget because of the poor economy and weak tax revenue.
Representative Lambert discussed his concerns with the large national debt and the requirement that the stimulus money be spent quickly.
Representative Kagan stated that the debate on SB 09-297 should not focus on the merits of the federal stimulus package, but on ensuring that Colorado can spend its share without losing any to other states.
Representative Frangas mentioned his desire to talk with the sponsors of the bill and other interested parties about how projects relating to carbon sequestration may be part of the state's use of federal stimulus money.
Representative Judd concluded the discussion on SB 09-297 and asked for the committee's support for the bill.
Representative Gerou discussed with the committee the issue of whether the bill was only a tool for the spending of the federal stimulus money.
|TIME: || 05:04:29 PM|
|MOTION:||Refer Senate Bill 09-297 to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed 8 - 2.|
Final YES: 8 NO: 2 EXC: 1 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
The committee adjourned.