Government Administration and Elections Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP COMMISSION.
Joint Favorable Substitute
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Government Administrations and Elections Committee
REASONS FOR BILL:
House Bill 5359 would establish the Public-Private Partnership (P3) Commission within DAS. This legislation would require the P3 Commission to make recommendations to the governor regarding proposals submitted by state agencies to the governor.
The substitute language would add the Senate majority and House majority leaders, or their designees, to the P3 Commission.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Department of Administrative Services (DAS):
DAS does not believe that a P3 Commission is necessary, stating that current law already establishes a process by which proposals for Public-Private Partnerships should be reviewed. They opine that the proposed framework adds a step to the current process that may be needless. DAS also feels that the timeline for the new P3 Commission is “problematic.”
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Representative Lawrence F. Cafero, Jr:
Representative Cafero submitted testimony in support of HB 5359. As of now, the governor has approval authority for public-private partnership projects. Allowing a broader group to be involved with the decision making process would take on a more democratic process. That said Representative Cafero believes that the bill should be changed to require that all P3 projects be approved by not only the P3 Commission but also the Appropriations and Finance Committees, and the legislature.
Todd G. Berch, The Connecticut AFL-CIO:
Mr. Berch, a member of the Connecticut AFL-CIO testified in support of this bill. The CT AFL-CIO has 900 affiliated local unions who represent 200,000 working men and women. While they support this legislation, CT AFL-CIO would suggest including a representative of their agency as one of the members of the P3 Commission, “Lending labors voice to successful job growth.”
Matthew Brokman, Legislative Representative, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME):
Mr. Brokman testified in support for HB 5359. He stated that, “this bill sets up a common sense commission to protect tax payers and workers as the state considers signing potentially long-term, large projects that can have significant financial implications for the state.” Mr. Brokman cautioned, however, that there are many examples of public-private partnerships that looked good on the surface but were actually detrimental to states and municipalities entering into these agreements. Due to this, AFSCME suggests several considerations to employ while analyzing these deals before entering into an agreement; Ensure that the public knows what is in fine-print of these agreements before they are authorized, ensure that these projects are part of the state's long term plan and actually help us achieve goals, and also ensure that this agreement will help build the middle class and those that work on the project are paid livable wages.
Jan Hochadel, President, State Vocational Federation of Teachers
Jan Hochadel supports this bill. She believes that those with an important interest in Public-Private Partnerships will have their voices heard. Ms. Hochadel does have a concern that the limit of five public-private partnership projects may be removed by the bill. It is her belief that “the public interest and corporate interest are rarely so aligned that these projects benefit everyone involved.”
Jean Morningstar, Second Vice President, AFT Connecticut:
Morningstar submitted testimony in support of this bill; she believes it is “essential to provide another level of scrutiny for the implementation of public-private partnership projects.” In her testimony she says that having a recommending body, in addition to the standing committee of General Assembly, is essential in reviewing submitted projects. Ms. Morningstar does suggest the addition of the Senate majority and House majority leader (or their designee) to the Commission. Morningstar's recommendations were addressed in the substitute language.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Reported by: Kelly Pinkham