Extend credit to owners of water rights who donate those rights

Photo: Tabor impact $.063

This article is part of our look at potential refunds from the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. Learn more about how TABOR works here.

Title: HB15-1159 Instream Flow Incentive Tax Credit

Sponsors: Rep. Jennifer Ardnt (D-Fort Collins), Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-Vail)

Status: Introduced and assigned to the state House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources, Finance, and Appropriations committees on Jan. 29. The Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee referred an amended version of the bill to the Finance Committee on March 2. The Finance Committee referred an amended version of the bill to the Appropriations Committee on March 12. The Appropriations Committee referred an unamended version of the bill to the whole house on March 27. The House passed the bill to the Senate, which killed the bill on April 14.

What the bill would have done: A water right owner can currently claim a tax credit if they transfer some or all of their rights to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, allowing the water to stay in the river and enhance the environment. That credit is set to expire this year.

The bill would have extended the credit to 2019 and removed a rule that only allows taxpayers to claim the credit in years when the state budget grows by more than six percent. The total annual payout for this credit is capped at $2 million.

How it would have affected your refund: This bill would lessen the average taxpayer refund by up to 63 cents for 2015-16. The Joint Budget Committee prepared their report on the bill on March 24.