Guv signs ag tax repeal, anti-bullying laws

Farmers and ranchers won’t have to pay a sales tax on agricultural products anymore now that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill Monday reinstating an exemption on the tax.

The measure the Democratic governor signed in Sterling repeals a law approved last year that started charging sales taxes on such things as pesticides, bull semen and other products farmers and ranchers use to operate their businesses.

“The ag tax was burdensome on our farmers and ranchers, especially in this tough economy,” said Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan. “The repeal of the tax better positions the agriculture industry to help continue to grow Colorado’s economy.”

The suspension of the sales tax exemption was one of several approved by the Legislature last year to help generate more tax dollars to balance the current year’s budget. The agricultural exemption, which generated about $3.7 million a year, was due to be reinstated in 2013.

Hickenlooper also signed a bill that was sponsored in part by Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, ensure that some members of the State Parole Board have experience in such things as victim advocacy and inmate rehabilitation.

Other measures signed by the governor Monday include a bill to establish a special task force to assess the interaction between school discipline practices and the juvenile justice system, a measure to crack down on bullying in schools, and a bill requiring state workers to contribute more of their pay to their retirement accounts.


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