End of tax exemptions could prove helpful to higher education

State lawmakers give early approval to legislative package tied to revenue stream

Five weeks into this year's session, the Colorado General Assembly has introduced more than 300 bills, some of which continue to demand the attention of the University of Colorado's government affairs team.

On Tuesday, Feb. 16, the House agreed to Senate amendments to a package of eight bills aimed at ending several tax exemptions. Should the package pass, it could result in $130 million to $150 million in revenue for the state next year. Higher education leaders are concerned that without such a revenue stream, the alternative is further cuts in state funding to their institutions.

A bill that would make the existing CollegeInvest nurse teacher loan forgiveness program more attractive to more students has so far passed every vote unanimously. CU has worked with CollegeInvest, other higher education institutions, the governor's office and bill sponsors Rep. Sara Gagliardi, D-Arvada, and Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, to extend eligibility requirements for the program. Nursing programs at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the Anschutz Medical Campus could then promote the incentive as a recruiting tool when hiring new faculty.
CU continues to support a bill that would establish statewide standards for transferring college credits from two-year schools to four-year schools, and between four-year schools. The House Education Committee last week passed the bill; it was scheduled for preliminary consideration this morning by the full House.