Water Resources Review Committee. Money in the severance tax operational fund (operational fund) is primarily used for 2 purposes. The general assembly annually appropriates money from the operational fund for several core departmental programs, which were previously described as "tier-one programs". If money remains after these appropriations and after a reserve requirement for the core departmental programs is satisfied, then the state treasurer transfers money to an array of funds that support natural resources and energy grant programs, which were previously described as "tier-two programs".
There is also a requirement that the reserve include an amount equal to 15% of the maximum transfers to natural resources and energy grant programs required by law, and this reserve is used for the transfers, if necessary.
The bill changes the distribution of the money in the operational fund as follows:
- Separates the reserve into the core reserve and the grant program reserve, while maintaining the overall purpose of each reserve;
- Increases the maximum grant program reserve to 100% of the maximum transfers to the natural resources and energy grant programs required by law, which currently is equal to $36,378,072;
- Requires the state treasurer to make the transfers to the natural resources and energy grant programs on August 15 after a fiscal year and to base the transfers on actual revenue as opposed to estimated revenue. Money from the grant program reserve may be used for these transfers; and
- If all of the appropriations and transfers have been made and both reserves are full, then the state treasurer is required to transfer any money remaining in the operational fund to the severance tax perpetual base fund.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)