March 2, 2012

(Denver) – A bipartisan bill that saves Colorado taxpayers more than $164,000 a day moved forward this morning after gathering dust for a nearly month because the Republican leadership failed to bring it to a floor vote.

HB12-1005, sponsored by Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver) and Sen. Ted Harvey (R-Highlands Ranch), would allow counties to invest public funds in securities that have less than two triple-A ratings.  Without that flexibility, counties and local governments are forced to put their public funds in accounts with a lower interest rate. Their hands are tied, and Colorado taxpayers are footing the bill.

The bill was approved unanimously by the House Finance Committee on Feb. 2 and was calendared for second reading on Feb. 8. It has languished since then waiting for the Republican House leadership, which controls the House calendar, to bring the bill up for floor debate.

Every day the bill doesn’t pass is costing Colorado taxpayers $164,383, according to an estimate by the nonpartisan Colorado County Treasurers Association. House Democrats posted a ticker on their Web site,cohousedems.com, showing the cumulative cost has topped $3.6 million.

“I’m going to be brief because it costs the taxpayers $114 every minute that we talk on this bill,” Rep. Pabon told the House this morning.

Today’s floor debate, including a voice vote with a lone “no,” took 3 minutes and 40 seconds. But the clock keeps ticking because third reading and final House passage won’t happen before Monday. Then the Senate would have to act on the bill, and the governor would have to sign it.

“I’m happy this bill moved,” said Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the House Democratic leader. “Let’s get this to the Senate and the governor as soon as we can.”

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