(July 23) – Amid conflicting statements from the Colorado Treasurer’s office, the Capital Development Committee (CDC) held a hearing today to discuss the status of funding for priority projects. Last week, House Democratic members of the CDC sent a letter to Treasurer Walker Stapleton expressing concerns about his office’s delay in launching funding for capital construction needs under the bipartisan SB 17-267 and the impact that the delays would have on health and safety related projects across the state. Also in their letter, the members reiterated an earlier request from the bipartisan committee for Treasurer Stapleton to appear before the committee in person on July 23. He declined to attend today’s hearing and sent his Deputy Treasurer instead.
At a meeting of the CDC last month, nonpartisan staff notified the committee that the Certificates of Participation (COPs) that will launch hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for capital construction and transportation would not to be issued at the start of the fiscal year as originally planned, but would instead be delayed. The Treasurer and his office have offered conflicting statements about the reason for the delays and what role the TABOR lawsuit played in the decision not to proceed with the funding as soon as possible.
At today’s hearing, members of the committee questioned the Deputy Treasurer about why the Treasurer was delaying these important health, safety and infrastructure projects and the costs that the delays would entail. They also asked about the lack of communication with the legislature and the inconsistent information from the Treasurer’s office.
“This not about partisanship, it’s about these delays wasting taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, vice-chair of the CDC. “These projects are essential to our state and the safety and well-being of hardworking Coloradans. They deserve immediate attention – not delay.”
“I am disappointed that Treasurer Stapleton did not show up today to discuss his responsibility to fund urgent state projects,” said Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, who also sits on the committee. “Due to rising interest rates and construction cost escalation, this delay could cost Colorado millions of dollars. The legislature and the people of Colorado deserve answers.”
The CDC is a bipartisan committee made up of 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans. The committee developed a list of urgent projects to be funded under SB17-267. These projects are in every corner of the state, from Durango to Denver, and include mental health hospitals, community colleges and other important state assets.
You can watch today’s hearing HERE.