State moves one step closer to ending a big business community disincentive

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Last week, the state Senate Appropriations Committee resurrected a bill that would phase out the taxes businesses pay on equipment.

The legislation had been tabled earlier this month after a committee vote ended in a tie. However, the bill’s author, Douglas County Republican Sen. Mark Scheffel, appealed to Democratic committee chairman Sen. Abel Tapia to reconsider the measure.

On its second-chance reading, the bill was approved by a 5-4 vote.

Senate Bill 85, which is being carried in the House of Representatives by Republican Reps. Kevin Priola of Henderson and Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs, would phase out the business personal property tax over a 40-year period.

The tax is set by the state, but assessed by local governments on business equipment ranging from oil-drilling rigs to desks and chairs. Opponents of the tax have criticized it as a disincentive to businesses seeking to expand operations or to open in Colorado.

Given the trying economic times, we urge the members of the Senate, the House and Gov. Bill Ritter to approve the bill and ease the burden of all the state’s businesses.

As we have reported before, competition for economic development among cities and states is fierce. Showing that Colorado is progressive enough to eliminate a regressive tax can only help the state and region’s efforts to retain, grow and attract businesses.

While the time frame for the phase out seems a bit long, the simple fact that an end is in sight will go a long way toward bolstering the business climate throughout the state — and perhaps it will set a new tone in the statehouse and in local city halls.

Perhaps our elected officials will begin to realize that thriving communities are the direct result of prosperous businesses, and that overtaxing and overburdening the economic drivers of a community is a long-range plan that is doomed to failure.

Businesses already are taxed when they purchase equipment — and the days of the state and municipalities double dipping need to end.

If successful, most of us won’t be working the 9 to 5 when the tax finally fades into the mist of distant memory.

But those who continue to pursue the capitalistic dream of entrepreneurship will no doubt thank us for having the foresight to identify the error of our ways and lay the groundwork for a state which not only embraces, but recognizes the significance of the contributions that all businesses, large and small, make to the continuing prosperity of our state and our communities.