Budgeting Issues and Incentives

Not all tax breaks are bad for the taxpayers who are left out of the deal; some of the breaks genuinely stimulate the recipient industries and cause them to grow and hire Coloradans in well-paid jobs. That’s why I co-sponsored, both in the Finance Committee (on which I serve), and on the floor, the Film Production Activities In Colorado Act [HB 12-1286]. We believe it will actually bring film-making back to our state.

I have, successfully, worked to balance Colorado’s budget every year that I’ve been elected not for me, but for my children and yours. If I’m elected again, I promise not to leave our kids with soul-crushing debt or a terrible economy.

But many so-called incentives are simply giveaways that incentivize nothing. Take, for example, our giving of a 3% tax credit to any company who drills for oil in a rural part of Colorado. These companies get a 3% price reduction on all their capital equipment, funded by you, and I have yet to be convinced that they wouldn’t sink the drill anyway, discount or no discount. I passed a bipartisan bill [HB 12-1241] to look into whether these kind of incentives actually work or just waste your money.

These are the kind of tax giveaways which are often extracted from the legislature by the most powerful interests, and they often force the rest of us to pay more in taxes, or accept fewer services, like less well-funded schools, or inferior health care for our elderly and disabled.

The budget, of course, has to be balanced. We balance it every year. We allow no federal-style deficits in Colorado. But it takes a steady eagle eye to make sure that the limited funds we expend, are spent as wisely as a family spends its own limited budget.