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October 30, 2023

JOINT RELEASE: Interim Committees Pass Legislation to Address Educator Shortage, Simplify Small Business Tax Collection

DENVER, CO – Two interim committees passed legislation to address Colorado’s educator shortage and encourage uniform tax collections yesterday. 

Bill 1 from the Pension Review Commission would allow more Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) retirees to re-enter the teaching profession without being penalized with a reduction in state retirement benefits. Bill 1 from the the Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force would standardize tax collection, easing filings and remittances for small business owners.

“From public K-12 schools to universities and colleges, Coloradans are counting on us to address our state’s dire educator shortage,” said Rep. Eliza Hamrick, D-Centennial, sponsor of Bill 1. “This legislation encourages retired educators to re-enter the classroom by ensuring their PERA retirement benefits go untouched. Retired educators can be a wealth of knowledge for Colorado’s learners, and this bill makes it easier for them to continue supporting our students and still receive the retirement benefits they earned over their careers.” 

"Colorado has faced a teacher shortage for years, but for too long, qualified and willing educators have been left on the sidelines for fear of impacting their PERA retirement benefits," said Senator Chris Hansen, D-Denver, sponsor of Bill 1. "This bill gives more flexibility to districts to engage retired educators so they can put their years of teaching experience to good use and help prepare our kids for the future."

Bill 1, from the Pension Review Commission, sponsored by Representatives Cathy Kipp and Rick Taggart, R-Grand Junction, and Senator Hansen, helps encourage retired educators to re-enter the career field without a reduction in their Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) retirement benefits. This bill aims to update current law, which limits the number of service retirees that a state college, university or public school can hire without a reduction in the retirees' benefits. Under Bill 1, school districts could hire more retirees more easily and streamline the process of getting them back in classrooms. 

Bill 1 from the Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force, sponsored by Representatives Cathy Kipp and Rick Taggart, and Senators Jeff Bridges and Kevin Van Winkle, R-Highlands Ranch, would standardize sales and use tax collection for Colorado’s small businesses, saving them time on filings and easing the collection and remittance process through the electronic sales and use tax simplification system (SUTS). Under this bill, all local taxing jurisdictions would be required to use SUTS by July 1, 2025. Additionally, Bill 1 would raise the dollar threshold for monthly filing from $300 to $600 allowing more small businesses to make returns and pay taxes at quarterly intervals instead, saving them time and money. 

“Standardizing Colorado’s sales tax filing and collection system is huge for the average small business owner because it simplifies the process and cuts red tape,” said Rep. Cathy Kipp, Vice Chair of the Sales and Use Tax Simplification Task Force, D-Fort Collins, sponsor of Bill 1. “Allowing more businesses to file quarterly or annually rather than monthly will save small businesses time and money. Reducing the frequency of tax collection, as appropriate, is a step in the right direction as we work to make it easier to operate a small business in our great state.”

“Nobody wants to spend more time than necessary filing their taxes, especially the small business owners that form the backbone of our communities,” said Senator Jeff Bridges, D-Arapahoe County, sponsor of Bill 1. “Our legislation will standardize and streamline that process, and will save small business owners both time and money. I’m excited to champion this bill that will help folks spend less time on their sales and use taxes and more time focusing on their businesses.”

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