DENVER – Senate Democrats passed a tax credit worth up to $100 million for low-income people, amid Republican protests that there’s no way to pay for it.Senate Bill 1 – designated as Senate President John Morse’s top priority – passed the Senate on Wednesday, 99 days into the legislative session. It grants an earned-income tax credit and a child tax credit similar to those offered by the federal government.The state’s EITC would be worth up to 10 percent of the federal credit, and it is targeted to people with small paychecks. The child tax credit would be worth up to $300 per child for people who make less than $25,000, but families earning up to $85,000 would be eligible for a smaller credit.One of the sponsors, Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, said the tax credits are an efficient way to fight poverty without the bureaucracy of welfare programs.“The EITC is effective at moving families off cash-assistance programs and into the workplace,” Kefalas said.But Republicans balked at the cost, which would reach $100 million a year when fully phased in.“You have to ask yourself, where does it come from? How many teachers will we fire to pay for it?” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs.
Democrats changed the bill so it won’t take effect unless official predictions for state tax revenue grow by $100 million in the next year.
The bill now goes to the House.