GOP cries foul over business tax credits

DENVER — Republicans took issue Tuesday with a measure designed to reform how much in tax credits are available to businesses that locate fully or partly inside enterprise zones.

Because the measure, HB1242, caps how much large companies can claim from the state’s main enterprise zone tax credit, Republicans called it unfriendly to businesses.

But its main sponsor, House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, said the measure is aimed at helping small businesses while preventing larger ones that just happen to have a portion of their operations inside enterprise zones, such as oil and gas drillers and telecommunications companies, from taking advantage of the credit.

“This is a very important bill to preserve what is good in the enterprise zone system (and) to provide additional credits that mostly small businesses will be able to take advantage of,” Hullinghorst said.

The bill, which cleared the House on a 37-25 vote, limits to $750,000 how much any single company can claim each year from the Enterprise Zone Investment Tax Credit.

Regardless of that cap, though, it allows any claim above that amount to be spread out over the next 14 years and lets the state’s Economic Development Commission waive the limit.

The measure also:

■  Increases the New Business Facility Employee Credit from $500 to $1,000 for each new employee a company hires;

■  Hikes the Employer Sponsored Health Insurance Credit from $200 to $1,000 for those new employees; and

■ Increases the Enterprise Zone Qualified Job Training Program Investment Credit from 10 percent to 12 percent.

“We are considered a very business-friendly state,” Hullinghorst said. “Those very large, big corporations and those big organizations that have well-heeled lobbyists and spend a lot of money lobbying this body don’t think a bill is business friendly unless it gives away a great big tax credit or tax break or does away with a lot of regulations that protect the public health and safety.”


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