County expands tax rebate to businesses that want to leave

Mesa County businesses serious about moving out of state now qualify for tax incentives aimed at keeping them here.

Mesa County commissioners voted Monday to allow the county to negotiate a business personal property tax rebate for businesses that can prove they intend to move to a community outside Colorado. The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Grand Junction Economic Partnership will help filter applicants for the county and judge which businesses are actually steps away from relocating. Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Schwenke said interested businesses should be able to list specific reasons why they want to relocate, show what incentives other states are willing to offer the business to relocate and present a cost-benefit analysis to the chamber and GJEP.

“I would envision the bar is going to be set pretty high on this one,” Schwenke said.

The business personal property tax rebate became available last year in Mesa County after the state legislature passed a bill that gave counties the option to offer a rebate on the tax charged for items used to conduct business, such as equipment, machinery and computers. The rebate at that time was only available to companies from outside the county who wanted to relocate here or existing Mesa County businesses who wanted to expand here. Monday’s amendment to add to the list companies looking to leave Mesa County was spurred by another bill passed earlier this year that allowed counties to add a third way for companies to qualify for the rebate.

No businesses looking to move here have inquired about the rebate yet, Schwenke said, and two that inquired about the rebate because they wanted to expand here did not get a rebate.

Commissioner Steve Acquafresca said he doesn’t expect the rebate to be used often, but he believes it will “make a difference” for some businesses.

“It’s one more thing that shows Mesa County is a business-friendly community,” he said.

The amount awarded for rebates will vary but can go as high as 2 percent of a business’ personal property investment spread over as long as 10 years, according to Schwenke.

“It’s not the amount, typically, it’s more the message it sends that we value you as an existing business,” she said. “If you’re on the cusp (about moving), this may help sway you, but not on the basis of finances alone.”


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So the County Commissioners are opening us up to being blackmailed?

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