by Pam Zubeck – The Colorado Springs Independent – Dec 1, 2011
With government agencies scrambling to pinch every penny, what if an industry came along that would produce millions of dollars in tax revenue?
The oil and gas industry has done that across Colorado, but El Paso County commissioners made a decision years ago that now would shut the county out of a windfall here. Same goes for income from wind farms and solar arrays.
In 2000, under pressure from the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp., the county abolished the business personal property tax, assessed on things like machinery, equipment and supplies.
That decision has cost the county $25 million in lost revenue in the past five years alone. And because oil and gas rigs, windmills and related commodities are assessed as personal property, the exemption would cost the county many millions more if drilling gets traction here.
Despite that, there’s no political will to reinstate the tax, which requires voter approval. So, as Commissioner Dennis Hisey says, “They’re getting a pass.”
also Read a related article “From Homes to Oil” by Pam Zubeck