URGED hosts OEDIT presentation for possible tax relief program


SAN LUIS VALLEY — The Upper Rio Grande Economic Development (URGED) group held its March meeting on March 9 and welcomed Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) representative Tom Monaco who gave a presentation on a potential tax relief program for Rio Grande County and the San Luis Valley.

Monaco presented the program to URGED previously but in order to further answer some questions about the program was asked to come back and do his presentation again this month. The purpose of the program is for county’s seeking to grow economically and entice new businesses to choose the San Luis Valley as their new location by offering potential incentives like the Rural Jump Start Program.

Rio Grande County along with other counties in the Valley offer a few different incentives to new businesses including the Enterprise Zone tax breaks and other grant funded loan programs that assist new businesses in getting established and being successful for years to come. The new program would be similar and add to the growing “toolbox” the county has to offer businesses the perfect place to open their doors.

The Rural Jump-Start Program helps economically distressed communities attract new businesses and jobs, according to Monaco. Counties, municipalities, higher education institutions and or economic development organizations can work together to apply for this program.

When a community is a designated rural jump-start zone, new businesses can receive incentive payments and tax relief including credits, exemptions, and refunds from: state income tax, state sales and use tax and county and municipal personal property taxes, Monaco said.

Employees of new businesses receive a tax credit for 100% of state income taxes on their wages for work in the rural jump-start zone. The Rural Jump-Start Program began in January 2016 and will accept applications through Dec. 31, 2025, Monaco said..

“This program is a two-fold opportunity that cultivates economic activity in specifically targeted rural counties while providing tax breaks to new companies that chose to locate within those counties,” Monaco said. “The counties receive the benefit of attracting new businesses to their communities, and these businesses are able to boost the local economy while receiving tax relief for four years with the opportunity to apply for an extension of an additional four years.”

Monaco highlighted some of the changes that have been done to make the program even more beneficial to counties who opt to become Rural Jump Start Zones including extending the deadline for five years giving ample opportunity to potential Rural Jump Start areas to apply for the program, modified the existing competition clause and allowing economic development groups like URGED to lead an application.

URGED founders Marty and Bonnie Asplin stated that they were working to get some of the other counties through out the state who have initiated the program to come and speak at another meeting so that additional questions could be answered.

The program would be one more opportunity for businesses wishing to relocate or open in the San Luis Valley and help boost the economy for future endeavors.

More information on the program can be found at https://oedit.colorado.gov/blog-post/rural-jump-start.