Currently, 50% of state severance tax revenues are deposited into the severance tax trust fund, which is then typically split between the severance tax perpetual base fund (perpetual base fund) and the severance tax operational fund (operational fund). Money in the operational fund is currently used for core departmental programs and, if there are sufficient available revenues, for transfers to funds that support natural resources and energy grant programs (grant program transfers). The act repeals the grant program transfers, with some, but not all, of the recipient programs receiving alternative funding from severance tax revenues.
Subject to annual appropriation, the Colorado water conservation board is authorized to direct the state treasurer to transfer money from the perpetual base fund to the water supply reserve fund, the interbasin compact committee operation fund, and the water efficiency grant program cash fund, all of which previously received grant program transfers. The general assembly is authorized to directly appropriate or transfer money into the perpetual base fund and the water supply reserve fund.
If less than 100% of the money available in the operational fund is used for the current core departmental programs, then, the general assembly may appropriate money from the operational fund to the species conservation trust fund, the division of parks and wildlife aquatic nuisance species fund, and the conservation district grant fund, all of which previously received grant program transfers. The transfers from the operational fund are subject to the same limits that they had as grant program transfers. On June 30, 2021, and July 1, 2022, the state treasurer is required to transfer $9,456,005 from the general fund to the operational fund.
The director of the office of state planning and budgeting and the executive directors of the departments of revenue, natural resources, education, and local affairs, or their designees, are required to review and analyze various elements of the state severance tax and submit written recommendations for any changes to the joint budget committee. Stakeholders will be involved in the process and may submit responsive comments to the recommendations.
The act also requires metropolitan districts created after July 1, 2021, to annually pay the state an amount equal to the total of all severance tax ad valorem credits claimed for property taxes that are imposed by the metropolitan district. This money will be allocated like severance tax revenues.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)