Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 297

    January Session, 2017

Substitute House Joint Resolution No. 41

House of Representatives, March 29, 2017

The Committee on Transportation reported through REP. GUERRERA of the 29th Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute resolution ought to be adopted.

RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION LIMITING THE USE OF MONEYS IN THE SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION FUND.

Resolved by this Assembly:

Section 1. That the following be proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the State, which, when approved and adopted in the manner provided by the Constitution, shall, to all intents and purposes, become a part thereof:

Article third of the Constitution is amended by adding section 19 as follows:

Sec. 19. The Special Transportation Fund shall remain a perpetual fund. The general assembly shall direct the resources of said fund solely for transportation purposes, including the payment of debt service on obligations of the state incurred for transportation purposes. Sources of funds, moneys and receipts of the state credited, deposited or transferred to said fund by state law on or after the effective date of this amendment shall be credited, deposited or transferred to the Special Transportation Fund, so long as such sources are authorized by statute to be collected or received by the state, or any officer thereof, and the general assembly shall enact no law authorizing the resources of said fund to be expended other than for transportation purposes and the payment of debt service on obligations of the state incurred for transportation purposes.

RESOLVED: That the foregoing proposed amendment to the Constitution be continued to the next session of the General Assembly elected at the general election to be held on November 6, 2018, and published with the laws passed at the present session, or be presented to the electors at the general election to be held on November 6, 2018, whichever the case may be, according to article sixth of the amendments to the Constitution. The designation of said proposed amendment to be used on the ballots at such election shall be "Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to ensure (1) that all moneys contained in the Special Transportation Fund be used solely for transportation purposes, including the payment of debts of the state incurred for transportation purposes, and (2) that sources of funds credited, deposited or transferred in the Special Transportation Fund be credited, deposited or transferred in said fund so long as such sources are authorized by statute to be collected or received by the state?"

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

The date of the 2018 general election was changed to "November 6," in two places for accuracy

TRA

Joint Favorable Subst. -LCO

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 18 $

FY 19 $

Secretary of the State

GF - Cost

None

5,000

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

This resolution proposes an amendment to the State Constitution to restrict the use of funds in the Special Transportation Fund and require continued deposits into said fund. The Secretary of the State is anticipated to incur a cost of $5,000 in FY 19 (for the November 2018 election) for providing posters with the proposed constitutional amendment question and explanation to each polling place in every municipality. The FY 19 cost may be shifted into FY 21 pursuant to the requirements of the constitutional amendment process.

This cost will cover the printing and mailing of the posters. Since all materials required for placing a constitutional amendment on the ballot are supplied by the State, and the vote will occur in a regularly scheduled statewide election, no costs will be incurred by municipalities.

The Out Years

The cost identified above is one-time. However, the FY 19 cost may be shifted into FY 21 pursuant to the requirements of the constitutional amendment process, as noted above.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHJ 41

RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION LIMITING THE USE OF MONEYS IN THE SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION FUND.

SUMMARY

This resolution proposes a constitutional amendment that does the following:

This resolution is nearly identical to RA 15-1, December Special Session (DSS) (see BACKGROUND).

The ballot designation to be used when the amendment is presented at the general election is “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to ensure (1) that all moneys contained in the Special Transportation Fund be used solely for transportation purposes, including the payment of debts of the state incurred for transportation purposes, and (2) that sources of funds credited, deposited or transferred in the Special Transportation Fund be credited, deposited or transferred in said fund so long as such sources are authorized by statute to be collected or received by the state?”

EFFECTIVE DATE:  If the resolution passes by at least three-fourths of the membership of each house of the General Assembly, it will be placed on the 2018 general election ballot. If it passes by a majority of the members of each house but less than three-fourths, it will be referred to the legislature's 2019 session. If it passes in that session by a majority of each house, it will appear on the 2020 general election ballot. If a majority of those voting in the general election approves the amendment, it will become part of the state constitution.

BACKGROUND

RA 15-1, December Special Session (DSS)

This resolution differs from RA 15-1, DSS, because the latter prohibits the legislature from enacting a law authorizing the spending of STF funds for any purpose other than transportation, but does not address the payment of debt service on state transportation obligations. In addition, this resolution's ballot designation, above, refers to sources of funds “credited, deposited or transferred” in the STF. RA 15-1, DSS, refers to funds “deposited” in the STF.

Special Transportation Fund

By law, the STF pays for state highway and public transportation projects. It is supported by a number of revenue streams, including the motor fuels tax, motor carrier road tax, petroleum products gross earnings tax, certain motor vehicle receipts and fees (e. g., driver's license fees), motor vehicle-related fines and penalties, and a portion of state sales tax revenue (CGS 13b-61, -61a , -61b, -61c, and 12-408 (1) (L)).

By law, money in the fund must be used first for debt service on special tax obligation bonds and to pay for certain transportation projects. Remaining funds must be used to pay for (1) general obligation bonds issued for transportation projects, (2) budget appropriations for the departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles, (3) Department of Energy and Environmental Protection boating regulation and enforcement, and (4) the Department of Social Services' transportation for employment independence program (CGS 13b-69).

Statutory “Lockbox”

By law, the STF is a perpetual fund and the use of STF funds is restricted to transportation purposes, including paying debt service on state transportation obligations. The legislature is prohibited from passing any law authorizing the use of STF funds for any purpose other than transportation (CGS 13b-68 (b)). But under the principle of “legislative entrenchment,” it is unclear whether these statutory provisions are enforceable with regard to future legislatures.

Legislative entrenchment refers to one legislature statutorily restricting a future legislature's ability to enact legislation. The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that one such provision (in that case, a statute prohibiting general legislation from being included in an appropriations bill) was unenforceable, writing that “to hold otherwise would be to hold that one General Assembly could effectively control the enactment of legislation by a subsequent General Assembly. This is obviously not true, except where vested rights, protected by the constitution, have accrued under the earlier act” (Patterson v. Dempsey, 152 Conn. 431 (1965)).

Related Resolutions

SJ 5, favorably reported by the Transportation Committee, requires the legislature to use the STF only for transportation purposes.

HJ 100, raised by the Government Administration and Elections Committee, is identical to RA 15-1, DSS.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

35

Nay

0

(03/17/2017)

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