Urban Renewal Bill Will Return

The 2015 Legislative session opened on January 7 but some of the issues will seem familiar. Colorado Counties Inc., which lobbies on behalf of Colorado’s 64 counties, is once again working to drum up legislator support to revise tax-increment funding statutes.

Last year Rep Brian DelGrosso carried the bill, which passed but was vetoed by Gov. Hickenlooper. This year DelGrosso says that it’s likely new House Speaker Dickie Lee Hullinghorst (Boulder) will carry the bill. Hullinghorst is known as a wily politician who has little love for businesses or TIF.

The cities agreed with two provisions of the bill. The first would appoint a county representative to serve on each urban renewal authority board. The second provision is that tax-increment collection would cease at the time of project completion and debt is paid off.

The third provision would require cities to allocate an equivalent percentage of sales tax into the URA that county governments were losing from property taxes with the URA. This provision created a lot of opposition and resulted in the Governor’s veto. Many municipalities argue that the details of any revenue sharing agreement should be left to the participating governments and not set in stone.  In fact the Colorado Municipal League is purportedly backing its own bill that would exclude the third provision. It is unlikely that either bill will be introduced early on in the session because typically the more controversy in a bill, the later it is introduced in the session.

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