FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 5, 2010 For more information:
HOUSE MAJORITY COMMUNICATIONS
Rep. Fischer Stops Developers from Abusing Tax Loopholes;
Helps Balance State Budget
(DENVER) – A bill that will help balance the state budget by closing a loophole providing substantial give-aways to developers was given initial approval by the House this morning.
House Bill 1107, sponsored by Rep. Randy Fischer (D-Fort Collins), restricts the use of tax increment financing on agricultural land. An unintended consequence of current law is that often productive agricultural land is designated an “urban renewal area,” opening the door to the use of tax increment financing (TIF) by developers. This creates the widely-shared perception that TIF is being abused. HB 1107 will help correct this by limiting the use of agricultural land in urban renewal areas unless that land meets very specific requirements.
“When I travel to Denver on my way to the State Capitol, I pass by acre upon acre of verdant irrigated farmland. How can anyone confuse productive farm land with abandoned or derelict buildings and crime ridden streets that are characteristic of urban blight?” asked Rep. Fischer. “ We need to recognize in statute what is common sense: Farm land is not urban blight.”
This issue is of particular importance to Fort Collins and northeastern Colorado. The entire town of Timnath, located just southeast of Ft. Collins, designated its entire town as an urban renewal area on previously productive farmland. A Wal-Mart was built on the land, as well as 400 homes. This development pulled jobs and revenue away from Ft. Collins and cost Colorado taxpayers millions of dollars.
Rep. Fischer continued, “House Bill 1107 is designed to put the brakes on the exponential growth in the state’s backfill of local school revenues that are being siphoned off through tax increment financing. At a time when the state can least afford it, the loophole addressed in this bill is costing Colorado taxpayers over $50 million per year. Alarmingly, the high growth rate in the state’s share of TIF back-fill could end up costing the state over $200 million by 2020.”
HB 1107 will have a final House vote on Monday before it moves to the Senate where it is sponsored by Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) .
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About the Colorado General Assembly Majority Party
Thirty-seven Democrats comprise the majority of Colorado’s 65-member House of Representatives. Leadership for the 67th General Assembly includes Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll; Majority Leader Paul Weissmann; Speaker Pro Tempore Buffie McFadyen, Assistant Majority Leader Andy Kerr,
Caucus Chair Karen Middleton and Majority Whip Christine Scanlan.
Current and past House proceedings can be seen on Comcast Channel 165 or at www.coloradochannel.net. Breaking news, legislator biographies and photos are available at www.coloradohouse.org.