Panel resurrects sales tax exemption on ag products

A measure to reverse a controversial sales tax exemption on agricultural products that was suspended last year is on its way to the full Colorado House.

On a party-line vote Friday, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee approved reinstating the exemption, despite the protestations of Democrats, who said the state can’t afford its $3.5 million-a-year price tag.

“In passing the bill ... Republicans didn’t let on to how they’re going to pay for this,” said House Minority Leader Sal Pace, D-Pueblo.

“They have no plan for how to pay for this, or the hundreds of millions that they’re proposing in giveaways and special-interest tax breaks.”

Rural Republican lawmakers, however, said since the exemption was suspended last year, the state’s agricultural operations have lost sales to out-of-state competitors.

The exemption offered tax breaks on such things as bull semen, pesticides and agricultural compounds, including vaccines and hormones.

Suspending the exemption was one of several measures that the Legislature approved last year to address a $1 billion revenue shortfall.

The Democrats held a majority then.


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