By Kristin Pazulski, DENVER DAILY NEWS
A bill that would provide a tax credit to Colorado businesses for re-hiring previously laid-off employees passed in the Senate Monday, 18-16, with all supportive votes coming from Democrats.
After the vote, Republicans released a statement challenging the Democrats’ support of the bill, Senate Bill 133, claiming “hypocrisy” in Democrats for “raising taxes on one hand while offering new tax credits on the other.”
Recently, state General Assembly Democrats successfully passed a series of bills eliminating or suspending a number of tax credits and exemptions due to the state budget shortfall. Those measures were signed into law.
“Democrats are proposing a $5.5 million tax credit for rehired workers to distract from their actions to raise 20 times that amount in taxes,” said Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch.
Democratic Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, said those tax exemptions, which spurred the Republican reaction to the bill, were not comparable.
“They are not even in the same ball park,” he said, adding that the eliminated exemptions offered tax breaks in different industries. The exemption passed Monday applied to all industries, he said, and focused on getting people back to work.
“It’s a very, very different thing,” he said. “This basically says that we want to get people back to work.”
Republicans, however, said in a press release that the bill is “nearly identical” to a proposal several decades ago by then President Jimmy Carter. The Republicans said that most experts believe now that the Carter proposal did little or nothing to create jobs.
Democrats who voted against the bill Monday were Sens. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora; Moe Keller, D-Wheat Ridge; Mary Hodge, D-Brighton; and Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village. However, when the measure was reconsidered, Schwartz changed her vote to yes, and Republicans blasted her for her change in vote, saying she “flip-flopped.”
In other coverage:
The Denver Post: A Democratic-sponsored bill to reward employers who rehire laid-off workers narrowly survived death at the hands of Senate Democrats on Monday. Sponsored by Sens. Rollie Heath of Boulder and Chris Romer of Denver, Senate Bill 133 would give a tax credit to employers who rehire workers they had laid off last year.
The Durango Herald: Senators decided to create a new tax credit for businesses that rehire laid-off workers, while the House began a move to take one away. State Senate Bill 133 passed Monday on an 18-16 vote. Sponsors say it will offer an incentive to employers who were thinking about rehiring workers but are not quite ready to do so.