Colorado Senate bill helps rural communities promote agritourism
February 22, 2015
Craig — On Jan. 28, Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, introduced a piece of legislation intended to help rural communities like Craig attract tourists with less of a burden on advertising and marketing agencies.
SB15-127 allows such agencies to "deduct from its federal taxable income for state income tax purposes an amount equal to 50 percent of the costs the agency incurs in donating advertising or marketing services to a local government with fewer than 120,000 residents for the purpose of advertising and marketing an agritourism activity," according to the bill.
According to the bill’s fiscal note on the Colorado General Assembly's website, the deduction for advertising and marketing agencies is capped at $10,000 per taxpayer per year.
The bill would provide income tax relief up to $500 for ranchers or farmers who contribute their own agri-tourism facilities. The tax break is only available between tax years 2015 and 2019.
The tax deduction for marketing or advertising agencies would apply between tax years 2016 and 2020.
The Colorado Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee passed the bill unanimously on Feb. 11. The committee made no amendments to the bill and passed it to the Senate Finance Committee.
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"Agriculture is Colorado's second largest industry, supporting more than 173,000 jobs and contributing $41 billion to the state's economy," according to a statement by the Colorado Senate Democrats after Garcia's bill passed its first committee.
Most of the Colorado General Assembly is on board with the proposed legislation, Garcia said.
"This is a more meaningful way to say tangibly that we want to promote this industry," Garcia told the Daily Press. "It passed with bipartisan support today in (the) Senate Finance (committee)."
The bill covers many activities that draw tourists to Colorado, including U-Pick farms and orchards, where visitors can pick their own produce, as well as rodeos, wineries and shooting sports.
"If you look at a lot of events a lot of them are ag-tourism related and we should be investing in that because the return on the investment on that for us is tourism and those tourism dollars," Garcia said.
Garcia wrote the bill because of feedback he received from county commissioners and city councils across the state of Colorado.
"This is really a lot of work they've done; I'm just bringing the bill forward," Garcia said. "They are the experts and have said, 'this will help us.'"