Fundamentally, taxes must be fair.
No one should be paying less than their fair share. Even if you have lots of money for lobbyists and political consultants you ought to pay your fair share. I have written about this before, and am doing so again for the simple reason that we have to face up to fiscal reality. In Colorado we have a system of tax exemptions and credits that allow corporations and other businesses to minimize their tax liability. For example, we exempt:
- Railroad locomotive parts
- Aircraft parts
- Vending machine food
- Printing material
- Direct mail advertising material
- Uranium and steel manufacturing material.
- Manufacturing clean rooms
- Dairy equipment
- Farm equipment
- Farm equipment parts
- Bull semen
We cannot give away tax dollars for tax credits for large corporations without proof that they work.
November 12 at 9:00 a.m. at a joint meeting of the House Finance Committee, which I chair, and the Senate Finance Committee will see if we can reduce state service cuts by eliminating some of these hand outs.* My goal is to learn firsthand if various tax credits work. These credits allow large corporations to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. The lobbyists and political consultants they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on all say that these tax credits create jobs and promote our state's economy. It's time to back up those claims. Not by hiring lobbyists but by coming forward with positive proof that for hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax income the State of Colorado is getting jobs in return.
When we are shutting down programs for the developmentally disabled in Grand Junction, we need to be very careful about giving away tax dollars to big corporations.
When we are looking at closing colleges we need to be sure that tax credits are actually creating jobs.
When the governor is proposing cuts to programs for the mentally ill that work extremely well then we must make certain that the tax breaks we give away are working.
No one can accuse me with a straight face of not being pro-business. I have worked to bring in new jobs and proudly supported Governor Ritter's new energy economy initiatives.
But I am also pro-common sense. I'm not going to support kicking a developmentally disabled person out of a program that works, closing a college or forcing a woman suffering behavioral illness to fend for herself without compelling evidence that the tax credits that are siphoning so many tax dollars work.
Please send me your thoughts on this topic. Please attend the hearing on November 12. Please let your legislators know how you feel.
*Subject to approval by the Executive Committee of the Legislative Council