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My first session serving as a state representative from Adams County has come to a close, and it has been a rewarding experience. Serving as your state representative has been an honor, and I am …
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My first session serving as a state representative from Adams County has come to a close, and it has been a rewarding experience. Serving as your state representative has been an honor, and I am looking forward to spending the summer meeting with constituents and working in our district. Looking back on the session, I am proud to say that I was able to work in a bipartisan way for changes that benefit our community.
After speaking with many people in the district and neighboring areas, overwhelmingly, the most important issue on everyone’s mind has been the economy. As a small-business owner, I have not been spared the effects of the sagging economy and can relate to the concerns of many people in our community and across the nation. Fortunately, we are beginning to see some modest gains in our markets. Let’s hope this trend continues.
The state of our economy, our job market and the state budget made this session especially challenging. It took a lot of work and sacrifices, but we were able to make some gains in addressing these challenges. We passed a bill to create a low-cost health option for workers, a bill to create incentives for job creation in Colorado and a measure to increase loan options for businesses.
I am also proud to announce that I was able to make headway on an important issue to small-business owners. One of my bills would have phased out a backward tax on products and services here in Colorado. This unfair tax, known as the business personal property tax, has been costing small businesses for decades. Although we were able to gain some traction, ultimately the bill was scaled back to only a study. I am already considering trying again next year and am hopeful that we can finally repeal this regressive tax.
As many of you know, I also successfully sponsored legislation to help farmers and rural landowners address their water needs, to protect children from sexual predators and to help homeowners struggling against the possibility of foreclosure.
Unfortunately, however, the session was not all good news for Coloradoans. I opposed the governor’s decision to raise taxes and fees in Colorado this year by almost $1 billion. There are many families already struggling to get by and these new taxes and fees will hit them hard.
One fee increase that you may see as early as this summer is a hike in the tax you pay to register your vehicles, a cost that was raised to fund transportation. The proposal was passed at the same time the governor approved another measure to remove the only existing transportation dollars from the budget. Together, these proposals were probably the most harmful economic measures of the session.
There were significant bipartisan achievements, including the important decisions that were made on the bill that finances state government. After some tough negotiation, I was able to support the final bill, which made necessary cuts to bureaucracy and programs to balance the budget.
The best part of being a legislator is hearing from my constituents and working to address your needs and concerns. I would like to thank everyone who contacted my office during the session.
Now that session has adjourned, I am looking forward to spending more time with my wife and two children. Between now and January, however, I will also continue to work on the issues that are important to our area, and will begin drafting my bills for next session. I may also be called back to the Capitol for a special session if the state’s budget situation continues to worsen and additional action is needed.
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