OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

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

sHB-5505

AN ACT CONCERNING THE CITIZENS' ELECTION PROGRAM.

As Amended by House "A" (LCO 3817)

House Calendar No. : 89

Senate Calendar No. : 281

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 09 $

FY 10 $

Elections Enforcement Commission

Citizens' Election Fund - Cost

See Below

None

Elections Enforcement Commission

Citizens' Election Fund - Savings

Potential

None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill makes several technical changes to the Citizens' Election Program which will have no fiscal impact to the state. The bill sets up a schedule of application deadlines that would allow the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to make grant payment determinations at fixed times. The SEEC would meet once a week until the third week of June through the third week of July when they would meet twice a week to make determinations on grant applications. Potentially, as the current law allows, the SEEC could meet every business day May through October during an election year. Changing the law to the aforementioned schedule will enable the SEEC to meet less often, resulting in a savings due to less per-diem payments to the five commissioners. The commissioners are compensated $200 per meeting.

Under current law, supplemental grants are provided to a participating candidate when his/her non-participating opponent makes expenditures in excess of the applicable spending limit for the participating candidate, which is the sum of (1) the qualifying contributions the participating candidate must receive and (2) 100% of the applicable full grant for a major party candidate for the primary or general election. Twenty-five percent of the initial grant amount is released to the participating candidate once the non-participating candidate spends more than the applicable spending limit, but the participating candidate can only expend dollar for dollar the amount equal to the non-participating candidate's excess expenditures. This bill would enable the candidate to expend the entire amount of the supplemental grant once it is released.

On January 1, 2008, the SEEC issued a report in which they project a 78% participation rate in the Citizens' Election Program. Utilizing this projection, 22% would be non-participating candidates and could trigger supplemental grant payments. The potential cost of these supplemental grants is not anticipated to be significant as the applicable expenditure limits of $100,000 for a senate race and $30,000 for a house race represent a high threshold. The Citizens' Election Fund has at least $45 million available for the 2008 election, and with the projected $10 - $11 million in grant payments to participants, the account has adequate funds to cover any supplemental grants as a result of this change.

The bill sets up a schedule of application deadlines that would allow the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to make grant payment determinations at fixed times. There is a potential cost savings to the Citizens' Election Fund account as the deadline outlined in the bill creates a shorter period of time in which a candidate could receive a grant.

The bill also allows a candidate to incur an obligation to expend supplemental grant funds as soon as they are approved by the SEEC, as opposed to waiting for the funds to actually be deposited into their accounts. This provision has no fiscal impact.

House “A” revised the application schedule to incorporate a deadline, which could result in a potential savings as it creates a shorter period of time in which a candidate could receive a grant. It also allows a candidate to incur an obligation to expend supplemental grant funds as soon as they are approved by the SEEC, rather than waiting until the funds are deposited into their account. This has no fiscal impact.

The Out Years

The ongoing fiscal impact identified above would only occur in years in which there is an election.

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.