Bill to let late taxpayers catch up this August through September clears second hurdle
Steadman bill will increase funding for schools by bringing in unpaid taxes
DENVER– Today, a bill to increase funding for Colorado schools by providing late taxpayers a period of tax amnesty, and to make the state’s tax system more transparent and accountable passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate Bill 184, sponsored by Senator Pat Steadman (D-Denver), will generate an estimated $9.5 million to help reduce the proposed cut to education. Colorado instituted a successful tax amnesty program in 2003. This revenue will be generated by providing Colorado businesses and families who have fallen behind on their taxes a 60 day period of tax amnesty this summer, from August through September. Anyone who owes back taxes will have the opportunity to pay what they owe and have penalties forgiven.
Senate Bill 184 will also help make state government more transparent by ensuring taxpayer money is spent wisely. The bill will require the state to report the cost and effectiveness of all tax expenditures, such as tax credits and exemptions, which result in reduced state revenue. Tax expenditures currently make up more than one-fifth of all state spending, but no data is collected or reported on the effectiveness of this spending.
Senator Steadman offered the following comment on the passage of Senate Bill 184 by the committee:
“Coloradans want us to find every opportunity to reduce the cut to our schools. By giving families and businesses that have fallen behind on their taxes the opportunity to clear things up without facing penalties, we can bring in much needed revenue to support our schools.
And when we are asking Coloradans to come forward and pay their taxes, we believe taxpayers deserve to know what is being done with their tax dollars. That’s why this bill also requires the state to shine sunlight on over $2 billion in spending and make public what it does with the taxpayers’ money.”
Senate Bill 184 will now be heard by the full Senate. The bill is sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver).