April 17, 2008

State: Fees cover costs for RTAs, so no cost for RTAs

When a bill is introduced in the state Legislature, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau is required to estimate how much the proposal will cost. Here's one such report on a proposal from state Rep. Robin Vos, R-Caledonia. Vos wants to require voters to pass a referendum to join a Regional Transit Authority, which is a taxing body that would raise money to spend on transportation projects like busing and commuter rail.

Here's the complete fiscal estimate (emphasis added):
Bill Summary: The bill allows most cities, towns, villages, and counties to create regional transit authorities (RTAs), which are public bodies corporate and politic that are separate governmental entities.

Fiscal Effect: The bill does not directly impact the Department, and therefore the Department assumes that it will have no state fiscal effect. The Department assumes that political subdivisions eligible and electing to create RTAs will incur one-time costs related to activities necessary to form the RTA, e.g., drafting and adopting authorizing resolutions. The Department assumes that the one-time costs associated with creating RTAs will differ among local units of government, but has no basis for reliably estimating the amount of those one-time costs. Therefore the Department has listed the local government fiscal effect as "indeterminate". However, because the bill provides that RTAs, once legally formed, may set fees and charges for functions, facilities, and services provided by the RTA, the Department assumes that RTAs will set fees at levels sufficient to cover their costs and will have no net annualized fiscal effect.
In other words, there are no anticipated costs for RTAs because the RTAs will set fees to cover the costs. So what are the fees? "Indeterminate."

And what's the point of this fiscal estimate? Also ... indeterminate

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