House OKs cuts for estates, school supplies

Agricultural land would get rebate; shoppers may save on school items

DENVER – Colorado’s House voted for a pair of tax cuts Tuesday, reaching items as small as crayons and as large as farm and ranch estates.

Democratic congressional candidates sponsored both bills.

House Bill 1042, by Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, offers a rebate against the Colorado portion of the estate tax on agricultural land, in case the federal estate tax ever comes back.

“This isn’t the sexiest of bills, but it means real tax relief for Colorado’s farmers and ranchers,” Pace said.

Colorado’s tax on inherited wealth depends on the federal tax, which is currently suspended. The tax will return next year unless Congress suspends it again.

However, Pace’s bill would not take effect unless Congress offers a new suspension and then lets the tax return – a year from now, at the earliest.

It passed the House 55-9, with all the “no” votes coming from Democrats.

Pace’s bill was more popular with Republicans, who have made a priority of getting rid of the “death tax.”

Pace is running for Congress against U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez.

Rep. J. Paul Brown, R-Ignacio, said he strongly supported Pace’s bill.

“I’m very glad that Rep. Pace has come over on the right side,” Brown said. “Anything we can do to limit the amount of inheritance tax we have, we need to do it.”

The second bill, House Bill 1069, creates a three-day sales-tax holiday on back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and computers.

The tax holiday would be on the first weekend in August, likely beginning in 2014.

Denver Democrats Joe Miklosi and Dan Pabon sponsored the bill.

“In other states, it really becomes an event like Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving,” Miklosi said.

Miklosi is running for Congress against incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora. Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, called the bill a campaign gimmick.

“We ought to have some level of shame,” Gardner said. “This is no favor to the people of Colorado. It is no favor to the families of schoolchildren to allow them to keep their money.”

The bill passed 44-20, with a mix of “no” votes from both parties.

Both bills now go to the Senate.

jhanel@durangoherald.com

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