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April 29, 2024

House Passes Bipartisan Bills to Boost Rural Economies, Support Farmers and Ranchers

DENVER, CO - The House today passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representative Meghan Lukens that would create jobs and boost rural economies. HB24-1001 passed by a vote of 59-5. 

The House also passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representative Matthew Martinez that would create a refundable state income tax credit for a farm or ranch that uses certain stewardship practices that benefit the environment like improving soil health and water efficiency. HB24-1249 passed by a vote of 57-7.

“The Rural Jump-Start Program has supported numerous small businesses and created new jobs for rural Coloradans in communities like mine,” said Rep. Meghan Lukens, D-Steamboat Springs. “With this bipartisan legislation, more small business owners can continue to receive grants and tax credits through the Rural Jump-Start Program to grow, support, and retain employees. We’re boosting Colorado’s mountain and rural resort towns and helping rural businesses thrive.”

HB24-1001, also sponsored by Representative Rick Taggart, R-Grand Junction, aims to extend income tax credits and grants available to businesses and their employees that participate in the Colorado Rural Jump-start Zone Program and Grant Program. Under this bill, the Grant Program would extend through June 2026 and the Jump-start Zone Program, which includes the business tax incentives, would extend through 2031.

These successful programs are designed to reduce the costs of starting a new business or hiring new employees in rural economic jump-start zones. HB24-1001 would play a crucial role in boosting rural economies, supporting small businesses, and creating new jobs in all four corners of the state.

HB24-1249, also sponsored by Assistant Minority Leader Ty Winter, R-Trinidad, would create a new refundable income tax credit from 2026 through 2030 for farms and ranches that engage in agricultural stewardship practices. These stewardship practices can include rotational grazing, reductions in tilling soil, compost application and other practices that increase soil health, improve water efficiency, or create more diverse and thriving ecosystems while maintaining the productivity of the farm or ranch.

“With the help of this bill,  we are ensuring that our farmers and ranchers are recognized and benefit from the work that they do to keep our lands thriving and conserving water as they utilize practices that improve soil health,” said Rep. Matthew Martinez, D-Monte Vista. “This tax credit will benefit our agriculture producers who invest in stewardship practices on their lands, saving them money while they produce and support agricultural systems for our state.”

Under this bill, farmers and ranchers would be eligible for a refundable income tax credit determined by the number of stewardship practices that the farm or ranch uses. The tax credit amounts are:

  • Up to $75 per acre for one stewardship practice, with a maximum yearly credit of $150,000,

  • Up to $100 per acre for two stewardship practices, with a maximum yearly credit of $200,000, and

  • Up to $150 per acre for three or more stewardship practices, with a maximum yearly credit of $300,000.

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