Capitol Connection – April 23, 2021
This Week at the State Capitol:
Housing Development Grants Hotels Tenancy Support Program (SB21-242)
Senate Bill 242 transfers $15 million from the General Fund to the Housing Development Grant Fund within the Division of Housing for rental assistance, tenancy support service programs and grants and loans to purchase underutilized hotels, motels and other properties for temporary housing. The bill expands those who are eligible to benefit from the rental assistance and tenancy support programs to include individuals experiencing homelessness.
The housing crisis is impacting all corners of Colorado. In Colorado, home prices grew faster than median household incomes resulting in one of the top five worst gaps in the country. CAR’s Legislative Policy Committee has reviewed SB21-242 and has a few questions about how the program will transition after the stimulus dollars are spent but generally, we believe a stable home is fundamental to a stable and productive life.
LPC Position: Monitor
Bill Status: The bill was introduced last week and will soon be scheduled for its first hearing in the Senate Local Government Committee.
Extend Beetle Kill Wood Products Sales Tax Exemption (HB21-1261)
Currently, wood products made from salvaged Colorado trees that were killed or infested by mountain pine or spruce beetles are exempt from the state sales and use tax. Products can include lumber, furniture, wood chips or pellets, etc. House Bill 1261 extends the sales and use tax exemption through June 2026.
Wildfires are bigger each year and the next fire season seems to always be worse than the last. Forest health is a critical part of helping to minimize the spread of wildfires and protect Colorado’s water resources, property, human life and outdoor recreation. Trees that died or were infested by beetles create risk and help spread fires faster resulting in increased destruction. This bill continues to provide a solution and financial incentive to promote mitigation and removal of hazardous trees surrounding homes and property. Colorado REALTORS® work to help reduce the threat of wildfires in our communities, provide educational resources to share with homeowners and support financial incentives for mitigation through Colorado Project Wildfire.
LPC Position: Support
Bill Status: On Monday, the bill received unanimous support from the House Agriculture, Livestock and Water Committee and will next go to Finance.
General Fund Transfer Implement State Water Plan (HB21-1260)
House Bill 1260 transfers $15 million from the General Fund to the Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund for water plan grants and expenditures to ensure compliance with interstate water allocation compacts, equitable apportion decrees, international treaties and federal laws. The bill also would transfer $5 million to the Water Supply Reserve Fund to provide grants and loans to assist water users in addressing water supply issues.
Water is a precious resource to Coloradans and our ecosystems. As a headwater state, we know supply is limited, and we must take proactive steps to protect our water supply, honoring interstate compacts and investing in innovative solutions that can preserve water across the state. CAR supports the Colorado Water Plan and will provide input to the state as state leaders work to renew and update the plan.
LPC Position: Support
Bill Status: On Monday, the bill received unanimous support from the House Agriculture, Livestock and Water Committee and will next go to Appropriations.
|CSI Study: Trying to Fix a Broken Education Finance System|
Colorado’s education funding system is broken in several ways: inequitable revenue collection, an inefficient and outdated allocation formula, and a retirement system that costs the state nearly a billion dollars annually just to pay down the $30 billion in unfunded liability. HB21-1164 starts on a path of correction by addressing the patchwork system of property taxes on the revenue side. The extra revenue raised by this bill could help alleviate some of the budgetary pressures on K-12 education, but the bill does not address the flawed funding formula on the distribution side of the equation, and there are legitimate concerns that the bill violates the constitution by increasing taxes without a vote. Read the full study here.
May 1 marks 8th annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and kickoff to Wildfire Awareness Month
On the heels of the state’s three largest wildfires on record in 2020, and with several wildfires already occurring in Colorado in 2021, wildland fire professionals have issued dire warnings of the year ahead due to Colorado’s pervasive drought conditions and predictions of above-average temperatures through early summer.
With Wildfire Preparedness Day on Saturday, May 1 and Wildfire Awareness Month in May, wildfire prevention, insurance and REALTOR® professionals are encouraging the nearly 3 million Colorado residents living in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) to prepare their homes and communities for potential wildfires in the weeks and months ahead. Watch this special message from Colorado Project Wildfire Chair, Ulrich Salzgeber, as we prepare for the upcoming wildfire season.
Based on recommended fire-mitigation activities from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) advises homeowners complete the following activities at home while practicing social distancing.
Top 10 Wildfire Season Preparation Activities:
- Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves 5 feet from the home as well as under decks, porches, sheds and play structures.
- Remove leaves and needles from roofs and gutters.
- Sweep porches and decks clear of any burnable plant material.
- Move firewood piles at least 30 feet from the house, preferably uphill.
- Transfer items under decks or porches to a storage area.
- Cover any exposed eave or attic vents with 1/8-inch metal mesh screening.
- Ensure home address signs are clearly visible from the street.
- Contact the local Office of Emergency Management to register for emergency notifications and encourage your friends, family and neighbors to do the same.
- Confirm at least one alternate path out of your neighborhood other than the one most commonly used and be prepared for potential evacuation requiring the alternative route.
- Create an inventory of valuables in your home including written summaries, photography and video.
Join CAR’s Global Committee – Apply Now
Real estate is historically viewed from a local perspective, and most investors, sellers and buyers are local. Although economic factors within the U.S. affect Colorado real estate, it is only within the past decade that Coloradans have come to appreciate the importance of global economic factors on Colorado real estate both in commercial and residential. The reality is many Colorado REALTORS® conduct global transactions without realizing it.
The Colorado Association of REALTORS® is re-establishing a global presence to serve the needs of a continuous growing sector of Colorado’s real estate industry through the Global Committee. This Committee seeks to broaden multi-cultural understanding by offering a comprehensive resource and platform to increase awareness, provide education opportunities and access to networking partners.
Interested in serving on CAR’s Global Committee? Apply here.