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August 2, 2023

JOINT RELEASE: Laws to Bolster Tax Credit Awareness and Boost Food Assistance Go Into Effect

DENVER, CO - On August 8, new laws to increase awareness of the Colorado Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit and fund food assistance programs to expand access to healthy foods in lower-income communities go into effect.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit can boost workers’ incomes by thousands of dollars, making it easier for them to afford housing costs or everyday necessities, yet many Coloradans don’t know how to file for these tax benefits,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley, sponsor of HB23-1006. “This law will help connect families with the tax credits they qualify for, putting more money back into the pockets of hardworking Coloradans and boosting local economies.”

“Colorado working families’ budgets are stretched thin, and they deserve a helping hand – but too many folks aren’t taking full advantage of the benefits they’ve earned,” said Senator Tony Exum, D-Colorado Springs, sponsor of HB23-1006. “Requiring clear, consistent information on how to access tax credits means Coloradans will be able to keep more of their hard earned money in their pockets. I will always fight for Colorado’s working families and I’m proud to see this important bill advance.”

“Colorado families will now be informed of the tax credits available to them to make it easier to file for up to thousands of dollars in tax credits,” said Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada, sponsor of HB23-1006. “Our new law will provide employers with detailed tax credit information that they can easily share with their employees. With the implementation of this law, we’re improving access to critical tax credits to save Colorado families money.”

Starting August 8, HB23-1006 instructs employers to provide information about federal and state earned income tax credits and child tax credits to their employees. The notice must be provided at least once a year in English or any other language typically used to communicate with the employee. 

This bill builds on legislation passed by the General Assembly in recent years to increase the state Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. Senator Chris Hansen and Representatives Mary Young and Lindsey Daugherty previously passed SB22-182 to help Coloradans file for and receive their earned income tax credits and child tax credits. Colorado Democrats passed HB20-1420 and HB21-1311, which doubled the state's Earned Income Tax Credit and funded the Child Tax Credit, saving hundreds of thousands of Colorado families money. Representative Mary Young also passed HB23-1112 with Representative Shannon Bird and Senators Hansen and Chris Kolker to expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which is expected to return over $170 million more to hardworking families.

On August 8, HB23-1008 will go into effect, allocating $250,000 to the Department of Public Health and Environment to connect low-income communities throughout the state with healthy eating program incentives and improve access to fresh, Colorado-grown produce.

“Your ability to access healthy food should not be based on your income,” said Rep. Mike Weissman, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB23-1008. “About 33% of Coloradans do not have reliable access to nutritious food, which leads to chronic health issues and expensive health care bills. With our new law going into effect, everyday Coloradans across the state will soon have better access to fresh produce and groceries, making it easier for Coloradans to purchase healthy foods closer to home and boosting our agriculture industry.”

“Working people in my district and across the state don’t get a tax break on their lunches, and too many of them don’t have enough to eat at all," said Senator Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB23-1008. “I am happy to close this tax loophole that only benefits the wealthiest Coloradans, and redirect the funds toward addressing food insecurity so that more Coloradans can afford to put food on the table.”

“Family owned farms and food retailers need our support more than corporate boardrooms," said Senator Nick Hinrichsen, D-Pueblo, sponsor of HB23-1008. “This new law will reduce hunger and strengthen local supply chains in urban and rural parts of Colorado, with a minimal impact on state finances.”

This law builds off bipartisan legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2022 to save Coloradans money on healthy foods. The funding allocated by the 2022 legislation supports programs including the Community Nutrition Incentive Program, which assists women, children, and older Coloradans in subscribing to weekly produce deliveries from a local farm; the Double Up Food Bucks Program, which doubles the value of SNAP benefits in participating markets and stores for fruits and vegetables; and the Community Food Access program, which allows more small retailers to acquire equipment to store and sell produce and supports small family farms in connecting their crops to market demands.

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