Budget, redistricting on agenda

The budget and redistricting likely will take up a lot of time during the legislative session in Colorado.

But two Mesa County lawmakers also hope to reduce fees and taxes that affect businesses.

Laura Bradford
Laura Bradford

Laura Bradford, a Republican from Collbran serving her second term in House District 55, said she hopes the Legislature will reverse course on a series of tax exemptions what were eliminated or suspended last year, including exemptions for energy used in manufacturing and certain agricultural products and pesticides.

Steve King, a Republican from Grand Junction serving as the newly elected state senator in District 7, has his sights set on eliminating the business personal property tax as well as reducing other fees where possible.

Bradford and King both said the budget shortfall offers an opportunity to reconsider the role of state government in determining what important services to maintain and what services can be reduced, streamlined or simply eliminated.

Steve King
Steve King

To ease the budgeting crunch in the future, King said he plans to bring back legislation that would establish a “rainy day fund.” The legislation failed in committee last year.

The measure would earmark 10 percent of any year-over-year increase in tax revenues to the fund. That allocation would continue until savings equivalent to 12 percent of the general fund is accumulated. The fund could be tapped only after the governor declares an economic emergency and the legislature approves that action by a two-thirds vote.

Using the results from the 2010 Census, the Legislature also will be involved in setting the boundaries for state and congressional districts. Bradford said it’s important that the Western Slope be well represented in that process.

With Republican control in the House, Bradford will serve as chairwoman of the Local Government Committee.

King will serve on the Senate transportation and judiciary committees as well as the legislative audit committee.