Major ‘tax fairness’ overhaul passed by lawmakers, sent to governor’s desk

    BRIEF

    The Colorado Capitol in Denver is pictured on June 12, 2020. (Andy Bosselman for Newsline)

    The Colorado House of Representatives gave final approval late Monday night to two bills comprising a wide-ranging overhaul of the state’s tax code, proposing a variety of new and expanded tax benefits for low-income workers and families while reducing or eliminating many tax credits for businesses and the rich.

    House Bills 21-1311 and 21-1312 were repassed by the House after being amended by the Senate last week, sending the measures to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk to be signed into law. The two bills were passed by party-line votes in both chambers of the Legislature, with Republicans unanimously opposed.

    Overall, the two “tax fairness” bills would add about $375 million annually to the state budget by eliminating tax breaks for capital gains, “pass-through” income, and a variety of industry-specific credits that benefit insurers, oil and gas operators, and coal mining companies. About $250 million of the revenue raised would in turn be spent on tax benefits for lower-income people, including state-level versions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. The remainder would go to the state’s general fund.

    “This is Colorado’s biggest tax reform in decades,” Colorado Fiscal Institute executive director Carol Hedges said in a statement. “For too long, our state tax system has been written by a handful of wealthy and powerful people and corporations, while working people and families — especially Black and Brown Coloradans — pay a higher share of their income in taxes.”