Repeal the business personal property tax

By Steve King

There is virtually no person in Colorado who has not been affected, in one way or another, by the economic downturn experienced by our state in recent years. With unemployment remaining stubbornly above 8 percent, most of us know someone who has been laid off and is desperately looking for work. Or perhaps we know a business owner who cannot afford to grow and hire, or worse yet, has had to lay off valued employees just to survive.

As we start a new year and new legislative session in Colorado, it is appropriate to ask what our Legislature plans to do to address the situation. The key to Colorado’s economy is employment, and the private-sector growth that drives it. For too long, the knee-jerk reaction of many in government to these problems has been to intervene in the marketplace to a crippling extent, in an attempt to micromanage the economy.

All too often, the “cure” ends up being worse than the disease, partly because the money necessary to fund these interventions is siphoned away from the very people — the producers, farmers and business owners — who are struggling for the capital to be able to expand, hire, and provide real, long-term and sustainable economic growth. In this way, government fiscal policies begin to act as a curb on the economy.

The business personal property tax is just such an example. It is money that is being taken from business owners at a time when they can least afford it — when they are straining to look for ways to stay in business, hang on to employees and continue providing wages and benefits. That is why one of my first acts as state senator from District 7 will be to try to repeal the business personal property tax.

The repeal of this tax will immediately free up much-needed capital, allowing Colorado businesses to expand and hire, enabling real job growth in the state. It would also lift the heavy, bureaucratic reporting process that is as burdensome to business owners as paying the tax itself. This proposal represents effective economic legislation that the Colorado Legislature should pass in order to bring immediate relief to businesses, reduce unemployment and put Colorado on the path toward prosperity.

Just ask yourself: Where do you believe that money would be put to best use – in the hands of bureaucrats in state government, or with the local businessmen and women who keep this great state’s economy running?

Some will argue against eliminating this tax on the basis that it will cost the state government in terms of decreased tax revenue. These people are looking at the economics of this proposal in a vacuum, failing to take into account the overall benefit inherent in higher employment, economic growth and increased investment in Colorado businesses.

State government is not supposed to be in the business of simply maximizing revenue collection. Taxation is a necessary evil — a confiscation of private property — done, at ideally the lowest possible rate, in order to provide the few services that the private sector cannot, such as law enforcement, infrastructure and the like.

When it exceeds that mandate, it becomes a drain on the economy and a greater consumer of the citizens’ wealth.

As Coloradans, we all need to take a long, hard look at just what it is that the government should, and should not, be doing. It is my belief that over the years, the state government, like its federal counterpart, has far exceeded its purpose, to the point it is now the largest impediment facing our business community.

Our proposed bill, the repeal of the business personal property tax, is a way to begin to correct this. It is a way to get government out of the way of private enterprise and allow businesses to keep more of what they earn in order to do what they do best — create jobs and keep Colorado’s economic engine running.

Steve King represents state Senate District 7, which includes Mesa County and part of Garfield County. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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