Esgar, Hansen Previously Questioned Treasurer’s Office on Funding Delays
(Sept. 28) – According to the Colorado state Treasurer’s office, critical funding authorized under SB17-267 for health, safety and infrastructure projects were finally issued. SB17-267 authorized the Treasurer’s office to issue the funding on July 1, 2018. This summer, House Democrats raised concerns over the funding delays.
During a June meeting of the Capital Development Committee (CDC), nonpartisan staff notified the committee that the Certificates of Participation (COPs) under SB17-267 which 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 then 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 at the earliest opportunity.
In July, Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo and Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver sent the Treasurer a letter raising concerns about the impact these delays could have on pressing needs around the state, including potential safety risks and escalation in costs to the taxpayers, and asked the Treasurer to attend the hearing to address these issues. At a CDC meeting later that month, Reps. Esgar and Hansen and Majority Leader KC Becker questioned the Deputy Treasurer about why the Treasurer was delaying these important 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. Treasurer Walker Stapleton declined to attend the hearing.
“This delay risked wasting taxpayer dollars and created concern among my constituents who expressed disappointment that funding for these projects was held up,” said Rep. Esgar who serves as co-chair of the CDC. “I’m glad these critical health and safety projects are now moving forward. I will continue to closely monitor this development to ensure the projects are carried out promptly and at the best possible value to Coloradans.”
“As a result of this delay, Colorado is now going to pay higher interest rates,” said Rep. Hansen. “Interest rates have climbed by approximately 20 basis points since July and the increased borrowing costs will add millions of avoidable expense for the taxpayers.”
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 and include mental health hospitals, community colleges and other important state assets.