Archive for May 16th, 2012

Commissioner Millett “Concerned” About TABOR Bill Affecting State Bond Rating- Same as AFA Committee Democrats

Posted on May 16, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Department of Administrative & Financial Services Commissioner Sawin Millett:  My concern about the bill (LD 849, the TABOR bill) is the last statement in the fiscal note that, acknowledges that the cascade methodology allows one time savings, to trigger ongoing permanent reduction in revenue. That’s where I get concerned and I know that it can be, as I just heard, gradual and not, you know, particularly aggressive at the outset, but um, I like to keep my focus on ongoing revenues tracking ahead of ongoing expenditures.

That’s what I hear, every time I go to meet with the bond rating agencies, so I think it’s important to keep the two sides of the equation always in balance, always in focus. We try to do that in this committee, and my questions and answers to you have always been with that in mind, that when you look downstream, and you take a long term view, that you try not to make one side of the equation get out of sync with the other.

So that is a concern that I have expressed to you on multiple occasions and, um, I would reiterate it here today.

Chairman Rep. Pat Flood (R- Winthrop): Thank you very much. Representative Keschl…

Rep. Dennis Keschl (R- Belgrade): In response, it’s been talked about here before. One legislature can’t bind uh, another legislature in the future, and if we were to see, obviously, that things were getting out of balance, I’m sure that appropriate action would be taken by members of the committee to, uh, to bring it back into balance.

Chairman Rep. Pat Flood (R- Winthrop): Senator Hill.

Senator Dawn Hill (D-York): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Commissioner, for sharing with us that you maintain that concern. What I heard were questions asked that weren’t answered, and the question was, has anyone from the committee spoken to the bond houses, on their reactions to the…

Chairman Rep. Pat Flood (R- Winthrop): Has anyone from the committee spoken to the bond houses? No. The answer is no.

Senator Dawn Hill (D-York): So, well, I get here that no one reached out, but I’m not sure that they are supposed to reach out to us; I think we should be reaching out to them. So that’s why I’m asking the question.

Chairman Rep. Pat Flood (R- Winthrop): Representative Martin.

Rep. John Martin (D- Eagle Lake): I’m not sure it if relates to this issue or not, but I, as a person who, you know, when I served as a presiding officer did a number of trips to the bonding houses in New York, um, not always pleasant I might point out, over the years, and the one thing that, and I’m not sure that, I think the Commissioner referred to it. The Legislature’s not always in session. So that very often, if something happens, sometimes the Legislature’s not in a position to react to it. And the one thing I remember most from those meetings was the constant comment about automatic things taking place.

I don’t know if there’s a… I don’t know the answer to the question you just posed, because obviously this is not something that I dealt with and certainly not talking with the bonding houses about, in ten years. But I don’t know if there is a mechanism that could be structured to be added to this.

And I’m not necessarily opposed to it, per se, but that could be added to make sure that we don’t get into trouble, when we’re not here. And maybe, but we’ve got plenty of time before we… not a lot of time, but we’ve got time if the Commissioner maybe would think about it, if there is a mech- something at could be done at some point, added, whatever, that would make some sense. And I’m not going to put you into a-  I don’t have an answer-  I say move on. But in the meantime, if something were developed, before we adjourn, it might be worth thinking about.

Chairman Rep. Pat Flood (R- Winthrop): Thank you for the advice. That’s good council. And thank you, Commissioner- thanks for your good council as well. Any further discussion on the bill, as amended? All in favor of the–

Rep. Ken Fredette (R- Newport): Can we just have a very brief corner caucus, real quick?

Chairman Rep. Pat Flood (R- Winthrop): That’d be fine. We’re going to try to keep those brief, as we have a commitment to be ready in the Legislature shortly.

(End of tape)
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