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Colorado legislature turns focus to tax cuts, credits with days left in session

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – Two bills to cut Coloradans' taxes are receiving bipartisan support as the General Assembly enters its final days of the 2024 legislative session.

Republicans are promoting Senate Bill 24-228 as the largest tax cut in state history and Democrats are hailing House Bill 24-1134 as providing hundreds of millions in tax credits to middle- and lower-income families. The regular session ends May 8.

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“This historic income tax cut is the type of relief the people of Colorado have asked us to deliver and I’m grateful to help make it happen,” Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, and one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement.

The 42-page Senate bill would create additional income tax reductions through the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. The bill also would reduce sales and use taxes, which are part of the current TABOR refund methods. The bill would temporarily reduce the state income tax rate from 4.4 percent to 4.25 percent.

For 2025 to 2035 tax years, the bill would implement seven triggers to temporarily reduce the tax rate. The benchmarks range from .04 percent if state revenues are above $300 million but less than or equal to $500 million to .15 percent if excess revenues are above $1.5 billion.

The Senate bill also creates a fourth TABOR refund mechanism. It would cut the state sales and use taxes by .13 percent if excess state revenues are equal or greater than $1.5 billion.

“While the cost of living continues to reach unfathomable highs, the legislature has a responsibility to do everything it can to keep Coloradans’ tax dollars in their pockets where they belong,” Lundeen said. “By making these necessary changes to the TABOR refund mechanism, we are ensuring over $450 million of Coloradans hard earned dollars will stay in their pockets, instead of being filtered through the hands of state government.”

The 25-page House bill would modify two existing state income tax credits for child care expenses. It streamlines the two into one credit for tax years beginning January 1, 2026.

The state earned income tax credit would increase when claimed by an individual as a percentage of the federal earned income tax credit for all tax years starting January 1, 2024. It would increase to 50 percent in tax year 2026.

“Colorado’s working families and children are counting on us to deliver meaningful tax relief and I’m proud that we are going to deliver on this promise,” Representative Jenny Williford, D-Northglenn, said in a statement. “The bill introduced today alongside our package of tax credits will make Colorado more affordable, put money back into the pockets of hardworking people, and help us forge a brighter future for millions of people who call our state home.”

The state’s corporate income tax reporting would change under the House bill. The current combined reporting standard would be replaced with a multistate tax commission standard.