2020 Leg Session, Agriculture, Business/Economy, Environment, Exclusives, Featured, Land Use, Original Report, Scott Weiser, TABOR, Taxes, Uncategorized

Bipartisan bill proposes fee-based hazard mitigation enterprise; to fall outside TABOR revenue limits

DENVER–House members Matt Soper, R-Grand Junction and Lisa Cutter, D-Jefferson County are proposing to create a new state-owned hazard mitigation enterprise that would collect a 0.05% fee on certain policies from insurance companies.

The enterprise would in part “assist entities that apply for federal grants that require matching funds and are dedicated to assisting in the implementation of pre-disaster hazard mitigation measures.”

Other tasks include “public education on the importance of insurance in buying down risk and for the continuity of business operations, and provide local governments technical information and support on natural hazard mitigation through land use and building codes.”

The legislative declaration says a current lack of dedicated funding “limits the ability of local governments, particularly smaller jurisdictions, to take advantage of federal funding available to mitigate known hazards because of federal grant match requirements.”

Hazard mitigation controlled burn
Courtesy of W. Perry Conway

Rep. Soper told Complete Colorado Wednesday he is working on an amendment to allow private individuals to access the revenues generated.

House Bill 1142 says that funding for “ongoing mitigation efforts should be related to property and casualty insurance products.”

The bill claims the direct benefit to insurers who pay the fee includes the grant assistance, public education on the importance of insurance, and providing local governments with technical information on “natural hazard mitigation through land use and building codes.”

By creating an enterprise and calling the money collected a fee to “defray the costs of providing the business services” rather than a tax, the revenues generated are not subject to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), so no public vote is required and the revenues don’t count against TABOR’s revenue and spending limits.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Energy & Environment Committee February 6 upon adjournment in room 0112.

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