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ARCHIVED  January 1, 1996

Legislative Alliance girds for ’96 session

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance will tackle everything from enterprise zones to access to Denver International Airport during the next session of the Colorado General Assembly.
Sandra Hagen Potter, issues manager for the NCLA, said the session, which begins Jan. 10, will also witness attempts to increase support for schools and to rework the Gallagher Amendment.
The NCLA is a lobbying and issues group sponsored by the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greeley/Weld Chamber of Commerce and the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. Hagen Potter said that the alliance, which last year scored victories in school and highway funding, will be even more proactive this year.
“We will be more out front on some of the issues,” she said. Among the issues the NCLA will tackle:
n School funding. The NCLA is helping draft legislation that would grant tax breaks to corporations donating computer equipment to schools. Not only would such donations ease a shortfall in school-districts’ funding for computers, but they also would help train future workers in computers, Hagen Potter noted. “We’re really concerned about the quality-of-work force issue,” Hagen Potter said, adding that the school districts are “just ecstatic that we’re doing this.”
n Access to Denver International Airport. The NCLA will work to speed improvements to airport access from the north, including further construction of the E-470 highway. Hagen Potter said the state has long promised improved access to the new airport but that travelers must now navigate a circuitous route to DIA. “There were guarantees that we’d have access,” Hagen Potter said. She added: “We’d like to speed up the development of E-470. We’d like to see that completed in a reasonable amount of time.” In the meantime, Hagen Potter will push for continued maintenance – at a minimum – of the existing patchwork of roads to DIA.
n School to work. The alliance will focus efforts on improving work-force skills for individuals who bypass college and proceed straight to the work force. One avenue would be to incorporate work-force quality and work skills standards into a broader standards package for the state’s education system.
n Enterprise zones. The NCLA will track efforts to restructure the state’s enterprise-zone program, which grants tax breaks to companies that locate within a state-designated zone. Changes to existing law could include recertification of enterprise zones and new qualification and reporting requirements. The alliance also will promote smarter use of transportation dollars, possibly through bonding of transportation dollars to maximize their potential.
Additionally, the NCLA is studying carefully proposals to overhaul the Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado Constitution. The amendment shifted the property-tax burden from home owners to businesses.
“It [residential property taxes] will continue going down, and businesses are going to continue to pay a disproportionate share,” Hagen Potter said.
While an outright repeal of Gallagher is unlikely because home owners far outnumber business owners, other measures might be proposed, including one that would freeze the residential assessment ratio at 9 percent.

The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance will tackle everything from enterprise zones to access to Denver International Airport during the next session of the Colorado General Assembly.
Sandra Hagen Potter, issues manager for the NCLA, said the session, which begins Jan. 10, will also witness attempts to increase support for schools and to rework the Gallagher Amendment.
The NCLA is a lobbying and issues group sponsored by the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greeley/Weld Chamber of Commerce and the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. Hagen Potter said that the alliance, which last year scored victories in school and highway funding,…

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