Capitol Close Up 3-27-17
General Assembly Starts Budget Process, Revenue Growth to Benefit Roads & Schools

The Joint Budget Committee met on March 19 to hear independent quarterly revenue estimates from the Governor's Office and Legislative economists.  The bottom line is that state revenues are significantly higher than anticipated in 2017. The Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) forecasts $309 million more than its forecast in December 2017 for the current 2017-18 budget year. Legislative Council's comparative forecast has an increase of $243 million. This revenue growth will trigger a TABOR refund of $8 million in FY 2018-19.  

Looking to the FY 2018-19 budget, OSPB forecasts an increase in revenue of $207 million from the December projection. Legislative Council forecasts a comparative increase of $297 million. Both are taking into account impacts to Colorado from the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the details of which were not fully flushed out when the December revenue estimates were presented. 
The forecasts reflect continued growth in the state's economy, but legislative economists warned that "estimates are subjected to a higher margin of error than usual (this year). Significant shifts in taxpayer behavior occurred following the passage of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, resulting in unusual collection patterns."  
Last week, the Joint Budget Committee finalized its budget recommendations, which will be debated by the House and Senate this week. The JBC agreed to set aside $825 million in next year's budget for transportation, schools and PERA, the state's pension fund-all recommendations from Gov. Hickenlooper. Transportation will receive the largest portion with a one-time infusion of $500 million into the Highway Users Trust Fund.
More or the state budget:

CAHB Government Affairs Update

HB18-1107: Prewire Residence for Elecrtic Vehicle Charging Port (Posistion = Oppose) -This bill would require home builders to offer the installation of electric-vehicle charging systems to purchasers of new residences, both in single-family homes and owner-occupied condominiums. CAHB members testified against this bill in the Senate Committee on Transportation, where members voted to indefinitely postpone HB1107.
SB18-007: Affordable Housing Tax Credit (Position = Support) - Passed the House Committee on Finance last week on a 10-3 vote and is heading to the House Appropriations committee.This bipartisan bill extends for 5 years an existing affordable housing tax credit administered by CHAFA. The CAHB has regularly supported this tool to help low-income Coloradans address their housing needs. This bill already passed the Senate. Read more in the Denver Business Journal by clicking here.

Arbitration Legislation

The CAHB is opposing both arbitration bills; however, each passed in the House and will be heading to the Senate for consideration. CAHB will continue working with its partners to defeat these bills.
HB18-1261: Colorado Arbitration Fairness Act (Positon = Oppose) - This legislation would establish standards for arbitrators and create procedures for disclosures and disqualifications from arbitrations related to potential conflicts of interest. The GAC voted to oppose this legislation since it is an attempt to chill the use of professional arbitrators. If arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution are harder to use, far more issues will be taken to court, taking more time and costing more money for the parties involved.
HB18-1262: Arbitration Service Providers Transparency Act (Position = Oppose) - This bill would require distribution of arbitration case history information from arbitration services providers. Similar to HB1261, this legislation seeks to create more needless and burdensome regulation on professional arbitrators in order to eventually limit the use of alternative-dispute resolution.

CAHB Supporting U.S. Rep. Perlmutter

Leaders from NAHB and CAHB --including Roger Hollard, Scott Smith, Bruce Rau and Ted Leighty -- met this past Friday with U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter to discuss housing and building issues. They thanked the congressman for his leadership on housing-finance reform and announced their combined support of Rep. Perlmutter's re-election.

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