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April 22, 2023

Bipartisan Bills to Address Teacher Shortage, Expand Employee-Owned Businesses Pass House

House passes two bills to create a teacher apprenticeship program and incentivize employee-owned business models

DENVER, CO - The House today passed two bipartisan bills to expand the Employee Ownership Tax Credit and address Colorado’s teacher shortage. SB23-087 passed unanimously by a vote of 60-0 and would create an apprenticeship program to get more qualified educators in classrooms across Colorado. HB23-1081 passed by a vote of 55-4 and would expand employee-owned business incentives.

“Colorado’s teacher shortage is dire, and we need to do everything we can to get more qualified, dedicated educators in classrooms across our state,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins, sponsor of SB23-087. “This bipartisan bill works to address Colorado’s teacher shortage by providing people with paid hands-on training and experience they need to step into teaching roles and provide our students with the high-quality learning opportunities they deserve.”

SB23-087, sponsored by Representatives Cathy Kipp and Don Wilson, works to address Colorado’s growing teacher shortage. This bill would allow the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to create an apprenticeship program that builds on elements of existing alternative teacher licensure programs, and would include a bachelor's degree requirement and structured on-the-job training to get more licensed teachers in classrooms across Colorado.

According to the Colorado Education Association, teacher and staff shortages remain a persistent and troubling challenge in Colorado’s schools, with 85 percent of educators saying that the teacher shortage is significantly or somewhat worse than previous school years. This bill works to address the teacher shortage in both rural and urban school districts, and would increase the education workforce.

“Two years ago, Colorado became the first state in the nation to offer the Employee Ownership Tax Credit, cutting red tape for business owners who are exploring options when planning for retirement,” said Rep. William Lindstedt, D-Broomfield, sponsor of HB23-1081. “Expanding eligibility and strengthening incentives for employee ownership will make this program accessible to a wider range of Colorado businesses, keeping these companies locally-owned and rewarding the hard-working employees that help make the business successful. I’m excited to sponsor this legislation to expand this valuable tax credit to more Coloradans, improving job security and increasing wages to make Colorado more affordable.”

In 2021, Colorado Democrats created a first-in-the-nation refundable income tax credit that incentivizes business owners to move towards employee-owned business models. It allows business owners who are looking to move on from the company to pass the business on to their employees, allowing the business to stay within the community and giving hard-working Coloradans a stake in the company.

HB23-1081, also sponsored by Representative Rick Taggart, expands on the Employee Ownership Tax Credit by:

  • Making partially employee-owned businesses eligible to help cover the costs associated with expanding employee ownership;

  • Expanding methods that businesses are using to transfer equity to employees; and

  • Strengthening incentives for eligible businesses that are transitioning to employee ownership with existing resources.

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