OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http: //www. cga. ct. gov/ofa

EMERGENCY CERTIFICATION

SB-1500

AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE PROVISIONS OF THE BUDGET CONCERNING GENERAL GOVERNMENT.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: See Below

Municipal Impact: See Below

Explanation

The bill makes numerous changes, as described below.

Section 1 implements the budget (the Appropriations Act for the 2007-2009 biennium, as passed by the House and Senate) by allowing the city of Hartford to lease the Old State House to the General Assembly through the Joint Committee on Legislative Management. Funding in the amount of $500,000 in each of FY 08 and FY 09 is contained in the budget for Old State House operational and programming services. On March 30, 2007 the State Bond Commission allocated $600,000 for Old State House roof repairs.

Section 2 authorizes the Water Planning Council to establish an advisory group. There is no related fiscal impact.

Section 3 requires the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to perform a variety of reviews and specific analysis and report such findings by February 1, 2008 and annually thereafter; $200,000 has been provided in both years of the biennium for this purpose. The bill permits OPM to transfer funds as needed to the Department of Environmental Protection for data collection and analysis.   

Section 4 decreases from $50 million to $10 million the amount of Manufacturing Assistant Act (MAA) bonds earmarked by Public Act 07-205 for infrastructure improvements associated with the United States Naval Submarine Base-New London. It also clarifies the purposes for which the funds can be used. It should be noted that since Electric Boat Corporation received a $9. 9 million loan from MAA for renovations to the Graving Docks in Groton at the 1/26/07 meeting of the State Bond Commission, only $0. 1 million would be available for projects related to the Naval Submarine Base.

Section 5 implements the budget and establishes guidelines for the distribution of youth employment and training funds to the regional workforce development boards, and has no fiscal impact to the state. Funds, in the amount of $5 million, are contained in the budget of the Department of Labor in each year of the biennium to provide for urban youth employment.

Section 6 implements the budget by requiring the Probate Court Administrator to establish, within available appropriations, a program in the regional children's probate court for the district of New Haven to reduce the number of children who are placed out of their communities and in foster care due to abuse and neglect. The program will provide outreach to extended family members in the community and seek volunteers to act as assisted care providers to assist guardians in caring for children. Under the program, each guardian appointed by the court shall be eligible to receive a maximum grant of five hundred dollars per child.

Funds, in the amount of $100,000 in each year of the 2007-2009 Biennium, are provided in the budget of the Judicial Department as a grant to the regional children's probate court for the district of New Haven.

Section 7 implements the budget by establishing municipal reimbursement for firefighter training one, and recruit training. All municipalities are eligible to up to one-half the costs of such training, annually. Funds in the amount of $750,000 in FY 08 and $795,000 in FY 09 are contained within the budget for this purpose.

Section 8 implements the budget. Funds have been included within the operating budget of the Department of Environmental Protection in the amount of $500,000 in each of FY 08 and FY 09 for an Invasive Plants Council which would perform the activities outlined in the bill.   Passage of this bill would establish a separate, nonlapsing account within the Conservation Fund into which moneys could be deposited to conduct such activities.

Section 9 implements a provision of the budget. This section establishes an Urban Youth Violence Reduction program; the budget contains $1 million in both years of the biennium for this purpose. This grant is provided through a competitive proposal process, to municipalities, or eligible agencies acting on behalf of municipalities, to provide services for youth between 12 and 18 years of age.

Section 10 modifies a provision in sHB 7367 regarding the development of procedures for the leasing of naming rights of transit stations and other transit-owned property. This has no fiscal impact.

Section 11 considers applications for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need subject to the request for proposals (RFP) as “pre-applications” and has no fiscal impact.

Section 12 implements the budget. Funds have been included within the operating budget of the Department of Economic and Community Development in the amount of $1,000,000 in FY 09 for the Connecticut Manufacturing Supply Chain (CCAT).

Sections 13 - 14 make changes in the administration of the CT Development Research and Economic Assistance Matching (DREAM) grant program, and implement the budget. Funds have been included within the operating budget of the Department of Economic Development in the amount of $250,000 in each of FY 08 and FY 09 for this program and this amount represents the same funding level provided in FY 07.

Section 15 implements the budget by establishing a Small Business Incubator Advisory Board and makes other changes in the administration of the program. Funds have been included within the operating budget of the Department of Economic Development in the amount of $1,000,000 in each of FY 08 and FY 09 for a Small Business Incubator Program and this amount represents the same funding level provided in FY 07.

Sections 16 - 19 implement the budget by establishing, within available appropriations, a grant program within the State Department of Environmental Protection for the reduction of school bus emissions. The budget provides $10 million during the biennium from anticipated FY 07 surplus funds for this purpose. Section 18 also establishes a “school bus emission reduction account,” which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund.

Section 20 raises the fee, from $25 to $75, required of any person the court orders to participate in a victim impact panel as a condition of that person's enrollment in the alcohol intervention program. The alcohol intervention program is available to certain persons charged with operating a motor vehicle or boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There is no fiscal impact since the fees are paid to nonprofit organizations.

Section 21 makes it easier for landowners to donate real property to a state agency or a quasi-public agency. This will result in an increase in asset value to the state to the degree that the provision increases donations of land to the state.

Section 22 alters the qualifications for the Executive Director position within the Office of Military Affairs. There is no related fiscal impact.

Section 23 specifies that the state cannot recover from James Tillman's $5 million settlement his costs of incarceration. There is no fiscal impact anticipated as a result of this change.

Section 24 reduces the annual number of meetings required of the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund board of trustees. There is no related fiscal impact.

Section 25 expands the purview of the governing board of the Criminal Justice Information System, with no fiscal impact.

Section 26 makes a technical change to Public Act 07-77, which has no fiscal impact.

Section 27 implements the budget by requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a study of the Connecticut Valley Hospital water supply. Funds, in the amount of $50,000, are provided from the FY 07 anticipated surplus for this purpose.

Section 28 implements the budget by increasing the fees charged by court reporters and monitors when preparing transcripts for certain government officials. In total, the budgets of the Judicial Department, Public Defender Services Commission and Division of Criminal Justice have an additional $250,000 in each year of the biennium to pay for this increase.

Section 29 implements the budget by specifying the purposes for which the Judicial Department's Office of Victim Services may let contracts to assist victims of the crime of trafficking. The budget of the Judicial Department contains $100,000 in FY 08 and $130,000 in FY 09 to contact with nongovernmental organizations to develop a coordinated response system to assist victims of the offense of trafficking in persons.

Sections 30 - 32 implement the budget by expanding diversion services and court options for families with service needs (FWSNs). Funds, in the amount of $3. 5 million in each year of the biennium, are provided in the budget of the Judicial Department to establish Family Support Centers and expand respite care for status offenders.

Section 33 establishes a Blue Ribbon Commission on Housing and Economic Development in conjunction with the “Home CT” initiative in Sections 38 - 50 of this bill. It is anticipated that any costs associated with this commission could be accommodated within the budgeted resources of the various agencies involved.

Sections 34 - 35 require that any car or light duty truck purchased by the state after January 1, 2008 have an efficiency rating in the top third of its class, and 50% of such cars and light duty trucks must be alternative fueled, hybrid electric or plug-in electric vehicles. As the state currently meets the federal requirement that 75% of cars and light duty trucks purchased must be alternative fueled, this provision has no fiscal impact.

Requiring that cars and light duty trucks purchased after January 1, 2008 must have an efficiency rating in the top third of all vehicles in its class could conflict with federal law requiring the purchase of alternative fueled vehicles (which are not always “efficient” as that term is defined in the industry). Non-compliance with federal law could subject the state to the risk of fines and penalties.

The bill also requires that 100% cars and light duty trucks purchased by the state after January 1, 2012 must be alternative fueled, hybrid electric or plug-in electric vehicles. There will be increased costs in FY 12 for the state to purchase cars and light duty trucks that are 100% alternative fueled, hybrid electric or plug-in electric.

Section 36 implements the budget by transferring funds, in the approximate amount of $5 million annually, generated from the commission on prisoners' phone calls to the Judicial Department to expand the probation transition program and technical violation units in order to reduce recidivism and decrease the prison population. A General Fund appropriation is made to the budget of the Department of Information Technology in each year of the biennium to offset this transfer.

Section 37 extends from December 31, 2007, to January 1, 2008, the termination date for the Families with Service Needs Advisory Board. State agencies participating in this Board could incur additional costs, anticipated to be minimal, in FY 08.

Sections 38 - 50 implement provisions of the budget, which provides $4 million from the anticipated surplus to establish an incentive housing zone payment for municipalities. It is anticipated that the Office of Policy and Management can approve such zones, and report on the status of the zones to the legislature within the agency's normal budgetary resources.  

Sections 51 - 61 establish a tax exemption against the petroleum gross earnings tax to encourage the production and use of biodiesel fuel for transportation and heating. The short-term impact of this tax exemption cannot be determined but is anticipated to be minimal because the commercial availability of biodiesel is limited. However, as the availability of alternative fuel sources increases the exemption is likely to have a significant impact on General Fund revenues, which could eventually be in excess of $35 million per year.

Additionally, Sections 51 - 61 create a Connecticut Qualified Biodiesel Producer Incentive Account (Account) as a separate non lapsing account in the General Fund and requires the Department of Economic Development (DECD) to use funds from the account to provide grants and administer a grant program. The budget contains $5. 1 million for the biodeisel program. SSB 1119 (as favorably reported by the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee) provides a $3 million GO bond authorization in each of FY 08 and FY 09 for a Biofuel Production Facility Incentive Program.

Provisions of these sections also expand the Department of Agriculture's (DOAG) farm link program to include biodiesel can be done within existing agency resources. Establishment of a biofuel crops grant program administered by the DOAG will require an additional employee at a cost of $60,000 starting in FY 08 plus fringe benefits.

The sections also require additional tasks of the Institute of Sustainable energy located at Eastern Connecticut State University. It is estimated that the initial first year costs associated with these tasks would be $330,000. The ongoing program costs are estimated to be $130,000. Funds to accomplish the tasks are not included in the budget.

The Office of Policy and Management (OPM) must establish a program to encourage the use of biodiesel blends in state buildings and facilities. By January 1, 2008, OPM must prepare a plan to implement this program, including identifying state buildings and facilities suitable for the use of biodiesel blended heating fuel. There will be significant increased costs for OPM to establish a biodiesel blended heating fuel program. OPM will need to hire a consultant or additional staff as the agency does not have the technical experience to meet the requirements.

The budget includes $83,500 in FY 08 and $86,178 in FY 09 for staff within the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) to conduct research into the best crop cultivator for success as a biodeisel fuel.

Section 62 results in a potential revenue gain to a municipality whose grants in FY 08 would be less than their grants received in FY 07 as a result of an audit. The one-time revenue gain is projected to be less than $100,000.

Section 63 repeals section 3 of HB 7432 of the January 2007 session and specifies that the rebate program be cost-effective, and has no fiscal impact.

Section 64 expands eligibility for a program to fund renewable energy and cogeneration projects in state-owned buildings. sHB 7432 authorizes $30 million in General Obligation (GO) bonds for this purpose. To the degree that Section 64 causes these funds to be expended more rapidly than they otherwise would have been, there may be an increase in General Fund debt service costs in future years.

Sections 65 – 66 and 68 make changes to the definition of “small contractor,” thus increasing the number of firms that will be eligible under the set-aside program. The Department of Administrative Services will need one position to handle the increased workload associated with the greater number of firms eligible for the set-aside program. FY 08 costs would be approximately $37,500 (9 months salary, based on the section's effective date) and $50,000 (annualized salary) in FY 09. Funding for this position is not contained in the budget.

Section 67 requires the Governor to make a proclamation. Any resulting cost could be handled within budgeted resources.

Section 69 of the bill clarifies that certain expenditures must occur in state in order to count towards various tax credits and has no fiscal impact.

Sections 70 - 71 allow the commissioner to require independent certification of expenses related to certain tax credits and has no fiscal impact.

Section 72 of the bill makes a technical clarification and has no fiscal impact.

Sections 73 - 88 implement the budget, which contains approximately $16 million over the biennium to hire staff and build service capacity in advance of the effective date, January 1, 2010, to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include 16 and 17 year olds. Estimated state costs in the next biennium are $36 million in FY 10 and $78. 5 million in FY 11. Estimated costs in FY 12 are approximately $100 million (fully annualized).

Section 89 eliminates the statute of limitations for certain offenses provided that the perpetrator is identified by DNA and the victim notified the police or a prosecutor of the offense within five years of its commission. Since few such cases are anticipated, any marginal cost to state agencies under this provision is anticipated to be minimal.

Sections 90 - 96 require registered sex offenders to notify the Department of Public Safety whenever the sex offender establishes or changes an electronic mail address, instant message address or other similar Internet communication identifier. The Department of Public Safety could incur a minimal cost associated with the collection of internet communication information.

Section 97 makes it a felony to misrepresent one's age over the Internet to entice a minor. To the extent that this change increases the likelihood that offenders would be prosecuted or receive harsher penalties, a potential revenue gain from criminal fines and potential cost for incarceration and/or probation supervision in the community exist. Few fines would be imposed on an annual basis, and, consequently, any revenue gain under the bill would be minimal. On average, it costs the state about $2,500 annually to supervise an offender on probation in the community as compared to $41,600 to incarcerate an offender.

Section 98 facilitates certain criminal investigations and has no fiscal impact.

Section 99 gives the Risk Assessment Board additional duties that could be carried out at minimal cost.

Sections 100 – 101 establish study commissions that would result in minimal state costs.

Section 102 modifies Section 66 of HB 7432, AAC Electricity and Energy Efficiency, which concerns the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) administered by the Department of Social Services. It provides discretion to the commissioner of social services when determining whether to take advantage of programs offered by fuel vendors, that reduce the cost of fuel purchased.

It also removes a provision of HB 7432 which would have required CEAP recipients to be treated the same as a fuel vendor's other customers. This clarification will assure that DSS will not be required to pay a vendor's retail price charged to its other customers, and thus preclude a potential increase in program costs.

The bill further modifies a provision of Section 66 that would have required payments by agencies administering CEAP in advance of delivery where price-management strategies require by stating that this is to be accomplished only as funding allows. And, finally, it modifies a provision that would have required each community action agency to begin accepting CEAP applications no later than September 1st annually by stating this is to be done if funding allows. These two changes will potentially mitigate additional programmatic costs, which may have resulted in a reduction in resources available for benefits and services to participating households.

Sections 103 – 108 implement the budget by providing for the deferred maintenance of public housing. Fiscal Year 2007 surplus funds, in the amount of $10 million, are provided in the biennium for this purpose.

Sections 109 - 114 establish policy that supports individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) within the Department of Mental Retardation. The bill establishes a new division of autism spectrum services within DMR; requires DMR to adopt regulations to establish eligibility standards; and allows the new division within available appropriations, to research, design and implement delivery of services for individuals with ASD. The budget includes $1 million in FY 09 in DMR to support staff and services within the new autism services division.

The bill also allows DMR to carry forward up to $200,000 in the Pilot Program for Autism Services account into FY 08 to be used for a feasibility study regarding either a Medicaid waiver or amendment to the state plan for a community based program for individuals with ASD who are not mentally retarded. Further the bill allows DSS in consultation with DMR to seek approval of a waiver or a state plan amendment.

Section 115 relates to a nomination and has no fiscal impact.

Section 116 requires the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) to consider proposed technology or design configurations to determine if these proposals would create unreasonable economic burden on ratepayers.   There is no impact to CSC for this purpose.  

Section 117 makes a clarifying change with no related fiscal impact.

Sections 118 - 120 make technical and clarifying changed to House Bill 8002.   These changes do not alter the fiscal impact identified for HB 8002 and ensure compliance with the biennial budget act.

Section 121 provides a Sales Tax exemption for sales of unattended candy that costs $. 50 or less and sold on the “honor box” system. This will result in an estimated General Fund revenue loss from the Sales and Use Tax of between $50,000 and $100,000 per fiscal year beginning in FY 08.

Section 122 repeals a section of SB 1182 (passed during the 2007 Regular Session) that would have established the "Environmental Review Account", a non-lapsing account in the General Fund. The impact of this repealer is anticipated to be minimal because the amount of funds that would have been diverted to this account from the General Fund would not have exceeded $100,000.

Section 122 also implements the budget by eliminating a $5 million appropriation to DPUC. Instead, $5 million in surplus funds are provided in the budget during the biennium.

Section 122 also makes a technical change.

Section 123 conforms statute to the provisions in this bill that raise the age of juveniles to include 16 and 17 year olds by eliminating the civil status offender designation of Youth in Crisis as of January 1, 2010.

The Out Years

Except for one-time provisions, the annualized ongoing fiscal impacts identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

The preceding Fiscal Impact statement is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for the purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.