Proposed state bills for this legislative session will be a focus of the first meeting of the Colorado Counties Inc.
Issues that are sure to spark interest include a proposal to eliminate the personal property tax and potential proposals to directly subsidize renewable energy, Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said.
The tax elimination comes from Senate Bill 1, introduced by Sen. Bruce Cairns, R-Aurora, to phase out the business personal property tax. If approved, in the first year the tax would be reduced by 25 percent, and then continue to decrease by an additional 5 percent annually for 15 years until it's eliminated.
Reasons to support the tax elimination include that businesses would be more competitive, and the economy could recover more quickly, supporters have said.
But, Monger said, Colorado does not rank high among states for its total property taxes received and elimination of the business personal property tax would impact counties and their fire districts, school districts and more.
"It will have a substantial effect on Routt County," Monger said. "But our neighbors to the west will be even more impacted."
Monger pointed out that in Moffat County, about 40 percent of tax revenue comes from the property tax. In Routt County, the figure is closer to 15 percent or more, Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.
Another concern focuses on possible legislation to directly subsidize renewable energy, Monger said. Such subsidies, he said, are achieved through increased utility fees and so are "false" subsidies. He said he does not think such a tax would pass.
The change would be unfair to the coal-fired power plants, such as the one in Routt County, that are important to local economies, Monger said.
The meeting takes place today in Denver. It covers primarily public lands, agriculture and rural affairs, land use and natural resources, and tourism.
The meeting will mark Monger's first session serving on the Colorado Counties Inc. board of directors. He will be one of the six board members who make executive decisions and do administrative work for the organization. Monger formerly was the president for the western district of the organization.
Representatives from 51 of Colorado's 63 counties will meet during the session.
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