State lawmakers move to evaluate whether tax credits are worth it

A bipartisan bill to evaluate the effectiveness of Colorado’s tax breaks won unanimous support in its first committee Wednesday.

If the legislation passes, the state Auditor’s office will review all of the state’s nearly 200 tax reductions to see if they are accomplishing what lawmakers intended. Legislators would then have the option to try to repeal ineffective credits.

Rep. K-C Becker (D-Boulder) said she isn’t opposed to tax breaks in general, but the legislature has a responsibility to review them.

"When we’re voting on these, that’s one picture. But you have to do the lookback to see how it actually worked out," she explained.

Big business groups are concerned the reviews might focus too narrowly on economic development incentives, without considering the overall tax burden on Colorado companies. But so far they aren’t opposing the bill.

Ten states have passed similar laws in recent years to evaluate the effectiveness of their tax credits.