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September 18, 2010 07:34 PM UTC

Tilting at Windmills, Bull Semen Tax Exemption Edition

  • by: Colorado Pols

Plank #1 in the Colorado Senate Minority Office’s “Agenda for Economic Recovery”–the nicely alliterative “Platform for Prosperity” was taken, as you know–released Thursday:

Repeal anti-business tax increases of 2010

Over $100 million in new business taxes enacted by Ritter and the Democrats have put a damper on job creation in Colorado in the middle of the Obama recession. We believe increasing the tax burden on business is the wrong approach to balancing the state budget. Savings can be found through eliminating nonessential programs and streamlining state government…

The first thing you should notice is the marked absence of the rhetoric we’ve seen to characterize the state legislature’s move earlier this year to repeal certain tax exemptions, helping balance the budget as revenue dwindled during the recession. You’ll recall the gloom-and-doom forecasts of “thousands” of jobs being lost–including “5,000 Amazon jobs” later found to be absurdly trivial sources of income–and impassioned testimony to that effect by such figures as Rick Enstrom of the eponymous candy company and senior management at Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel.

The reason all that stuff is absent from this release is, back in August, Tim Hoover of the major Denver newspaper debunked those dire predictions: they never materialized. “It turned out it wasn’t that much of a deal for us,” Enstrom told Hoover, after having testified before the legislature of “huge impact” the exemption repeals would have on the candy business. Enstrom even told Hoover that he knew the repeals would not hurt his business at the time he testified before the legislature that they would–we suppose that’s not illegal, but it’s awfully embarrassing. Likewise, Pepsi and Evraz, who also warned of devastating job losses, admitted there haven’t been any.

Obviously, it would be better for the Senate Minority if you forgot about that, or preferably never saw this story to begin with. Not that it’s hard to miss, with literally hundreds of doom-and-gloom stories on these repeals, and one setting the record straight afterwards…


12 thoughts on “Tilting at Windmills, Bull Semen Tax Exemption Edition

  1. about oil and gas regs destroying jobs…

    Apparently to the CO GOP lying to score political points is much preferred to offering real solutions for Colorado.  

  2. You continue to support jobs destruction.

    Legislating unemployment is a failed policy.

    Continuing to divert private sector capital to feed your spending habit is killing the recovery.

    Analysis of state economy sometimes ignores the fundamentals of business decision making

    Posted By Tom Clark August 10, 2010

    3 comments post a comment

    On Saturday, the Denver Post, based on reports from local businesses, noted that the recent elimination of certain tax exemptions by the Colorado General Assembly are having no adverse impacts on local companies.

    Most of these exemptions were eliminated as of July 1 of this year. These tax increases are less than 60 days old. Expecting companies to have assessed the impacts on their day-to-day business costs within the first 60 days is a stretch at best. The Post’s story could lead one to conclude that there is little or no relationship between taxes and job growth. Let’s give ourselves a little more time to assess the impact caused by these increased costs before we draw any conclusion.

    The Sunday Post did a credible job reporting the ongoing job losses in manufacturing. Since the end of World War II, Colorado’s share of manufacturing jobs as a percentage of the state economy has, like the rest of the states, shrunk. But in the 1990s, the memory storage device industry, semiconductors, and communication equipment manufacturers were actually hiring people. Boulder County companies manufactured more memory storage devices than Silicon Valley, for example. Many companies, including Apple and Intel, came to the Front Range to join the likes of Hewlett Packard, NCR, and others.

    As cost pressures increased and Asian markets offered huge savings in labor costs, local plant managers were pushed harder and harder by their customers and their own company executives to keep costs low. Manufacturing companies were competing against the higher paying jobs that were also growing rapidly during this same time period. Labor prices went up quickly.

    What is often missing in the debate surrounding job loss is a look at taxes and their impact on job growth. Not just taxes in a general sense, but the types of taxes employed by government. The types of taxes have very different impacts on job growth and retention.

    For example, property taxes on Colorado commercial properties are three times higher than taxes on similarly-valued residential property. Yes, that old 28-year-old Gallagher Amendment continues to push jobs and investment away from Colorado. The state tax code’s impact on manufacturing growth was not discussed in the article. It should have been. A tax that is three times as much compared to other properties merits a paragraph in this discussion.

    Pity the poor plant manager of Intel in Colorado Springs about a decade ago. His plant, worth nearly $1 billion, was competing not only against other semiconductor companies, but also internally for any new line of business. One cold Saturday morning, the manager painstakingly walked 100 Colorado business and civic leaders through his own internal competition with other Intel plants for a new line of business. There was no doubt how the Business Personal Property Tax and the Gallagher Amendment made it impossible for him to compete even within his own company, much less globally. The plant closed and thousands of jobs went with it.

    Taxes do matter. Tax policy drives investment decisions. Every conversation about job growth and loss must include a portion devoted to Colorado’s tax structure.

    1. Yes, I know you love theory. And Gallagher needs to go with a lot of other, mostly GOP, bullshit. And I know it is the wet dream of every Republican to pay American workers what Chinese workers make.

      Summarize and link your drivel for copyright friendliness, ok?

      1. I hate to think how high the property taxes would be on my home. Business has plenty of lobbyists at the state Capitol who would gladly persuade lawmakers to shift the tax burden from businesses to individuals if given the chance.

        1. a business valued at $1M in Lake County is a pretty small, likely successful business. That biz owner will pay 3.9 X what a homeowner with a $1M home will pay. The same unfainess exists all over the state.

          CO property tax on residential property (I have one) is too low. On commercial it is too high (I don’t have one). Tax on mining claims is ridiculously low.

          As Gallagher applies, and if residential growth continues, it is more than theoretical that residential property taxes will be minimal and commercial will continue to rise as the law requires that 55% of counties pop tax revenue must come from commercial.

          Because of our tax structure Doug Bruce, slumlord, is in the most profitable biz in CO.  

  3. Is not the dollars paid, it’s the overhead of calculating them and the gotcha attitude of state agencies around them. Republicans ride this distaste for the process with the message of no taxes because eliminating the taxes eliminates the process.

    If the state would eliminate the high overhead taxes (my company spends more calculating what we owe in business property and use taxes than the tax payment itself) and replace that with an equivalent increase in the income tax. And if the state regulatory agencies and the Dept. of Incompetence Revenue would give businesses clear answer to questions so businesses knew what to do.

    Then a lot the steam would go out of this message. But as long as you have high overhead taxes and agencies that will not give clear guidance, but then turn around and go after companies who did not guess right – you’re going to see a lot of support for this.

    I initially supported the sales tax on software because we should all pay our fair share. I now believe it should be revoked until we get competent leadership in the Dept. of Revenue.

    1. 1. Get the GOP to agree if your plan will really generate equivalent revenue. Remember that we are one of the most chronically underfunded states in the country, so there’s no room to fuck that up.

      2. Until you are spending at least as much time getting the GOP to agree, stop stalking Democrats who don’t have any good options because of all the constitutional restrictions. Or pony up a few hundred million to bail us out. A few cents on a candy bar has not bankrupted me or anyone else.

      1. The governor appoints department heads. And he’s a Democrat. I agree that we need the GOP to agree to balance cuts with increases – which I think they’re open to.

        But without them we can still get competent leadership in our departments. It’s not the money paid, it’s the overhead and uncertainty.

        And my main point is that the Republican message will resonate until we address these two points. I can shut up, but that message will still resonate with many. I figure better to push to get it addressed.

  4. That package of bills should have been in effect long enough for us to determine whether they made any difference to the state revenues.

    Does anyone have any information about how much money has actually been raised – and it would be particularly helpful to know which of the increases generated money and which did not.

  5. If adolescent boys masturbate then he could waste money raiding people’s homes to see if they wasted any of it, or inquired about delivery  to stem cell research labs.

    Then he could spend Weld County money appealing to the Colorado Supreme Court the legality of no knock raids for semen of American citizens.

    This is obviously scarcasm.

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