Good for Colorado’s Economy: Legislative Session Advances Historic Initiatives to Strengthen Colorado and Grow Businesses

DENVER – The 2024 legislative session delivered real results for Colorado businesses of all sizes and positioned the state’s economy to continue to thrive. From nation-leading investments to strengthen Colorado’s workforce and create housing Coloradans can afford near job centers to cutting taxes and increasing certainty for business leaders, Colorado is doubling down on its commitment to be the best place to start and grow a business.

“We delivered real results this legislative session. Colorado's strong economy will continue to lead the nation and pave the way for the sectors of tomorrow. By increasing access to housing workers can afford, cutting sales and income taxes, saving Coloradans and businesses money on property taxes, and investing to make life in Colorado more liveable, affordable, and sustainable, we are ensuring Colorado remains the best state for workers to thrive and business to grow and expand in,” said Governor Polis.

Colorado’s economy remains strong. According to U.S. News & World Report, Colorado ranks fourth in the nation for best economy, best business environment, and employment. Cities across the state continue to make the “best places to live” list, with Colorado Springs up five spots to number three and Fort Collins also making the list.

To maintain Colorado’s economic competitiveness and strengthen the state’s business-friendly environment, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) has identified key areas to best support the growth of Colorado businesses. These include continued efforts to increase the supply and reduce the cost of housing, which impact employee recruitment and retention, and saving businesses and Coloradans money. Historic achievements from the 2024 legislative session will advance many of these priorities.

“Companies choose Colorado for our top talent, our diverse portfolio of advanced and growing industries, and our collaborative and stable ecosystem. By protecting regulatory certainty, saving business money on property taxes and the business income tax, creating more housing now and prioritizing workforce development, Colorado is sending a strong signal to employers that this is the best place to do business,” said OEDIT Executive Director, Eve Lieberman.

Key legislative accomplishments include:

Creating more housing now:

  • HB24-1295: Creative Industry Community Revitalization Incentives - Supports the development of mixed-use projects in creative districts, historic districts, main streets and neighborhood commercial centers. Builds on the impact of Community Revitalization Grants, which helped create more than 500 workforce, affordable and low-income housing units in Colorado.
  • HB24-1313: Housing in Transit-Oriented Communities - To create more housing opportunities near transit, saving people time and money while creating more housing opportunities in Colorado communities. 
  • HB24-1314: Historic Preservation Tax Credit - Creates a new pool of tax credits within this impactful program to support historic preservation projects that leverage at least 65% of the project’s square footage for affordable housing. 
  • HB24-1434: Expand Affordable Housing Tax Credit - Expands the affordable housing tax credit by increasing the amount of funding the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority can distribute. 
  • HB24-1316: Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit - Creates a pilot program for an income tax credit for owners of qualified housing developments focused on rental housing for middle-income individuals and families.

Saving Coloradans and businesses money:

  • SB 24-228: Temporary Income Tax Cut - Reduces the income tax rate from 4.4% to 4.25% and provides $450 million in income tax relief. 
  • SB 24-233: Property Tax Reduction - Saves the average Colorado homeowner roughly $500 on their property tax bill next year and holds residential and commercial tax rates steady. 
  • HB24-1001: Reauthorization of Rural Jump-Start - Extends the Rural Jump-Start tax credit program five years and the Rural Jump-Start grant program one year to encourage businesses to start in or move to economically distressed, rural counties of Colorado. 
  • HB24-1157: Employee Ownership Office Codification and Tax Credits - Codifies the Employee Ownership Office and establishes a new tax credit program to support Colorado businesses in their first seven years of employee ownership.

Elevating workforce development:

  • SB24-143: Credential Quality Apprenticeship Classification - Makes it easier for employers to consider the value of both academic and applied pathways in hiring, by streamlining and standardizing how skills are evaluated.
  • HB24-1439: Financial Incentives Expand Apprenticeship Programs - To boost and expand apprenticeship opportunities that provide paid work experience, training, and credentials to Coloradans while helping employers develop and prepare their future workforce.
  • HB24-1365: Opportunity Now - Plays a critical role in developing the next chapter of workforce development in Colorado, with a focus on construction and infrastructure to prepare our workforce for the opportunities presented by federal investments from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the CHIPS and Science Act. Will train workers in the skills needed to create housing, reach the state’s clean energy goals, and maintain a competitive economy. 

Growing key industries

  • HB24-1325 Quantum Tax Credit - Creates a multi-year $74 million refundable tax credit program to leverage Colorado’s private sector and academic research innovation, maximizing the state’s competitiveness for the Phase 2 Tech Hub selection and federal funding.

Landmark support for Colorado’s entrepreneurs and small businesses in State budget

  • This session, as part of the state budget, state leaders leveraged over $10.5 million to strengthen Colorado’s business climate and create more opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business development. These new and ongoing investments will support the Advanced Industries Accelerator Program, the Advanced Industries Export Program, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), Creative Districts, the Small Business Development Center network federal match, the small business Procurement Technical Assistance Center program, the Cannabis Business Office (CBO), and the Office of Outdoor Recreation (OREC).
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