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ARCHIVED  February 1, 1996

Bill would shift state funds to transportation projects

Despite being off to what some insiders consider a slow start, Colorado’s legislature is beginning to speed up, and Northern Colorado businesses arealong for the ride. Issues such as enterprise zones, takings and the state’s highways will venture to the floor of Colorado’s 60th General Assembly. January has been a “weeding-out period,´ said Sandra Hagen Potter, issues manager of the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance. But she expectsseveral of the proposed transportation bills to come to the floor in February and March. Among the bills she and the NCLA are watching are Senate Bill 01, sponsored by Sen. Ray Powers, R-Denver, and Rep. Steve Acquafresca,R-Cedaredge, and House Bill 1144, sponsored by Rep. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, and Sen. Don Ament, R-Iliff. The Powers/Acquafresca bill, also known as the Noble Bill, would change the allocation of money generated from auto sales and use taxes, and sales
taxes of auto-related goods (including tires, windshields, etc.), Hagen Potter said. Currently, 85 percent of the collected money goes to the old-age
pension fund, and the remaining 15 percent goes to the state general fund. Senate Bill 96-01 would take 6 percent from the general fund for deposit
into the highway users fund. Even if the bill makes it through both houses of the General Assembly, Gov. Roy Romer has vowed to veto the bill in its current form, saying he’d
rather educate kids than fill potholes. HB-1144 would allow tolls to be placed on existing roads that have already been paid for. Although revenue from the tolls would most likely pay for
necessary maintenance on other roadways and might speed development of a direct route from Northern Colorado to Denver International Airport,
Potter said it hasn’t been clarified where the money would go. Additionally, House Bill 1069 seems to have a clear road ahead. Sponsored by Rep. Ron May, R-Colorado Springs, and Powers, the bill should up
the speed limit on select Colorado roads to 75 miles per hour. Insurance premiums will no doubt be gunning to keep up. Enterprise zones Several bills pertaining to Colorado enterprise zones have been introduced, and more are likely to come, said Patrick Boyle of the Colorado
Association of Commerce and Industry. The bills range from dismantling the system altogether to legislation that would make the entire state more like
an enterprise zone. House Bill 1013, co-sponsored by Rep. Doug Friednash, D-Denver, and Sen. Bill Thiebaut, D-Pueblo, would eliminate any enterprise zone that is 10
years old or has already achieved the job-creation objectives set out at its establishment. If passed, Boyle says, the bill would dismantle the first 12
enterprise zones created. Rep. Steve Tool, R-Fort Collins, and Sen. Ben Alexander, R-Montrose, are co-sponsoring House Bill 1184, which if passed would create a
statewide job tax credit. The goal of the bill is “to create tax credits for good, high-quality jobs that employ people who live in the state,” Tool said. “It treats all areas of the
state equally.” Takings may have to give Two bills have been introduced to help create a give side to the government takings issue. Senate president Tom Norton, R-Greeley, and Rep. Norma
Anderson, R-Lakewood, are sponsoring Senate Bill 69, which would require mandatory binding arbitration in takings disputes. Although arbitration would provide a new and overdue forum to oppose government takings, Rep. Dan Prinster, D-Grand Junction, thinks SB-69
will simply be making more work for attorneys. Prinster has introduced his own solution – House Bill 1150, which would give those looking to oppose a takings an option other than a lengthy and
expensive court battle. The bill would create a state ombudsman office and similar regional offices throughout the state to investigate complaints
brought against state agencies. Businesses need help in dealing with takings, Prinster said. But he doubts his bill will be the answer, primarily because of its estimated $150,000
price tag. “It’ll probably die in appropriations committee,” he said. Business and the Legislature will appear throughout the 1996 legislative session.

Despite being off to what some insiders consider a slow start, Colorado’s legislature is beginning to speed up, and Northern Colorado businesses arealong for the ride. Issues such as enterprise zones, takings and the state’s highways will venture to the floor of Colorado’s 60th General Assembly. January has been a “weeding-out period,´ said Sandra Hagen Potter, issues manager of the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance. But she expectsseveral of the proposed transportation bills to come to the floor in February and March. Among the bills she and the NCLA are watching are Senate Bill 01, sponsored by Sen. Ray Powers, R-Denver,…

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