Taxes, taxes, taxes!
CMA has focused much of its efforts in the past month on preserving tax exemptions and credits for the mining industry. HB 20-1025 would make it much more difficult to claim a historic exemption from sales tax on energy used in manufacturing, mining and other industrial processes by requiring a claimant to verify the exemption through metering or verification by a third party who measures the exempt energy. Together with the rest of Colorado’s business community, CMA opposed the bill in committee and continues to work on the bill as it moves into the House Finance committee.
The second attack on mining exemptions comes from SB 20-168 which repeals the exemption from severance tax on the first 300,000 tons of coal produced each quarter as well as repealing the 50% credit for coal produced by underground mining. Together, these repeals would generate approximately $5.7 million which would than be used by the State to backfill county coffers for money lost through an exemption on property tax for solar gardens. CMA successfully opposed this measure last year when it was tied to an Appropriations Committee amendment. Last week, 20-plus miners journeyed to Denver to speak against the bill in the Senate Transportation & Energy Committee. Despite a strong push to oppose the bill by the mining industry and local governments, the bill passed on a party line vote. It now moves to the Senate Finance committee where we continue to oppose.
And, speaking of taxes, the latest attempt to circumvent the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is found in two efforts by the CDPHE which would establish Enterprise Funds (outside TABOR and the legislative budget process) for Air and Water programs. The Water Enterprise would be focused primarily on PFAS regulation, although that bill is undergoing significant amendment. The Air Enterprise bill has not yet been introduced but is expected to be a free-for-all with limits on air fees repealed in order to increase moneys flowing into the division’s checkbook.