Ritter offers plan to slash business taxes | AspenTimes.com

Ritter offers plan to slash business taxes

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

AURORA ” Gov. Bill Ritter outlined an ambitious plan Tuesday to lure new businesses to Colorado by slashing taxes, cutting red tape and concentrating on such 21st-century technology as bioscience, aerospace and renewable energy.

Ritter, a Democrat, said it’s time for state government to work with businesses.

He clashed with organized labor earlier this yearwhen he vetoed a bill that would have made it easier to form union shops.

“As governor, I am committed to leading a state government that partners with businesses, listens to their concerns and comes up with ideas to help our businesses get ahead in this increasingly competitive global marketplace,” he said.

He said his plan would help large and small businesses in both rural and urban areas.

Ritter proposed a legislative package that would cut taxes for 30,400 businesses by raising the business personal property tax exemption from $2,500 to $7,000.

It would also eliminate sales taxes on planes built in Colorado.

Ritter proposed establishing research funds of $3.5 million each for bioscience and clean energy.

The plan was welcome news to business leaders, who said Colorado punishes companies with complex tax formulas that require extensive record keeping and forms.

“Providing a tax structure that gives an incentive to create more of these jobs is a wise policy and will spur expansion in Colorado,” said David Perez, president of Gambro BCT, a company that sells blood products around the world.

Perez said Ritter’s economic development proposals are a “clear signal that Colorado intends to be competitive.”

Joe Blake, the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, said small businesses would also benefit from the plan because of reduced paperwork. He said that would put businesses in Colorado “a decade ahead of our competition.”

Mike Cerbo, the executive director-designate of the AFL-CIO in Colorado, said organized labor also would benefit, even though the proposals are aimed more at companies than at workers. He said Martin-Marietta and other technology companies have many unionized employees.

He said organized labor has “moved on” after Ritter vetoed the union bill and is working with Ritter on labor issues.

“I don’t know if ‘forgiven’ is the right word, but we have definitely moved on,” Cerbo said.