Chris Lloyd quoted in American-Statesman

June 14, 2012

Pardon Our Dust

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Chris Lloyd, a Virginia-based consultant, said the advisory commission’s primary duty is to determine how P3s will affect state finances, including debt.

Lloyd said Virginia lawmakers created their equivalent of the advisory commission when “they felt the executive branch was writing checks the Legislature couldn’t cash.”

But Lloyd stressed that the lawmakers’ involvement is advisory, providing general direction.

“Don’t get the Legislature exercised until the project is narrowed down by the executive branch,” he said. “They should be there to look over the shoulder of the executive branch.”

Lloyd noted that the executive branch could ignore lawmakers’ recommendations and sign a contract while they are on recess. Although the Legislature controls the purse strings, he said that lawmakers might be limited after the state signs a contract with a developer.

“You can hold it up in appropriations,” Lloyd said. But, he said, it “gets dicey” if the Legislature is accused of interfering with a contract.

Thursday’s hearing also underscored the tension between transparency and the private sector’s insistence on protecting confidential information.

Lloyd said Texas law made no provision for the advisory commission to discuss the proposals behind closed doors.

“You may be commenting on confidential information,” he said of the advisory commission’s recommendations.