Sales tax exemptions are ‘right thing for business’

Mesa County commissioners will soon adopt of host of new exemptions to the county’s 2 percent sales tax, saying the benefits to businesses and consumers outweighs the lost revenue to the county.

The board is preparing to amend the county’s sales tax resolution to allow for, among other things, the sales of certain machinery, farm equipment and pesticides and sales by certain charitable organizations to be exempt from sales tax. The change, which will cover all exemptions allowed under state law, will go into effect Jan. 1.

Commissioner Craig Meis said he decided to seek the additional exemptions after learning All-Terrain Motorsports caught flak from the state for not exempting some vehicles sold for agricultural purposes. He said the move aligns with the county’s “Open for Business” campaign that started last year.

“We just feel it’s the right thing for business. It’s the right thing for the constituency,” Meis said. “(The county) can take it on. We think people are taxed enough the way they are. We know we’ll make do.”

Currently, the only categories of items and purchases exempt from county sales tax are food and gasoline, electricity and other energy sources used to power and heat homes, county spokeswoman Jessica Peterson said.

Peterson said it’s unclear how much sales-tax revenue the county will lose due to the exemptions. That’s because, she said, sales are categorized for tax purposes not by the individual item, but the type of industry under which they fall.

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