Ritter urged to sign energy tax bill
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A lobbying group for western Colorado is calling on Gov. Bill Ritter to sign a bill that would double the percentage of severance tax funds going to counties impacted by energy development.In a letter written Tuesday, Club 20, a coalition of counties, communities, businesses and individuals, urged Ritter to sign House Bill 1139. The bill would provide that 30 rather than 15 percent of severance taxes on energy go directly back to the counties where energy development is occurring.Club 20 executive director Reeves Brown issued the letter amid concern that Ritter may be considering vetoing the measure, which would reduce general grant distributions from the state Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) from 85 to 70 percent.Ritter’s office could not be reached for comment.Brown wrote that the bill is needed to “push more energy impact monies more quickly to those counties that are being most affected and need immediate assistance.”DOLA will still be responsible for distributing the vast majority of these energy impact funds … but the increase to local governments will be significant in terms of helping them to meet the challenges of providing much needed social services, law enforcement, and infrastructure.” Brown wrote that the energy impact fund’s primary purpose is to mitigate impacts of energy development on communities where it occurs.”Unfortunately, too little money is made available too late to enable these communities to effectively deal with these challenges in a timely manner. HB 1139 will go a long ways to correcting this problem,” he wrote.The legislature has formed a committee to further study over the next year the broader question of how best to distribute anticipated future increases in energy impact funds. Brown wrote that that review is appropriate, but HB 1139 is needed in the meantime to provide immediate aid to energy-impacted communities.Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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Garfield County is seeking to qualify its four west-end communities for Colorado’s Rural Jump Start program, providing tax breaks for new businesses.