Weekly Policy Update: Start of the Colorado Legislative Session
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 01/14/2022
The Colorado State Legislature returned this past Wednesday to start the second regular session of the 73rd General Assembly. Even before the legislature’s return, Colorado BioScience Association has been working hard to lay the foundation for a successful legislative session for the ecosystem.
This foundational work has included several productive meetings with legislators on the Joint Budget Committee, and members of House & Senate Health and Business Committees. These meetings have been a great opportunity for CBSA President & CEO Elyse Blazevich to share her vision for the ecosystem and allow Elyse and CBSA Vice President Michael Crews to outline our policy priorities for the session. Elyse’s expertise as a medtech founder and business community leader has been an invaluable asset in providing legislators with a real-world perspective on the issues facing our members.
CBSA President & CEO Elyse Blazevich presents Senator Chris Hansen(SD-31) with his 2021 CBSA Legislator of the Year award. Senator Hansen was one of four legislators to be given this honor and we greatly appreciate his leadership to preserve the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program along with sponsoring the Advanced Industries Investor Tax Credit bill this session.
From these conversations and other interactions with policymakers, it appears that the democratically controlled legislature should have less of a focus on legislation directly targeting the ecosystem and across the healthcare continuum this session as compared to activity in recent years. CBSA will remain vigilant over the next 120 days for legislation that will be harmful and regressive to our growing life sciences ecosystem, which is seen as a leader in the Rocky Mountain West. To continue this growth, CBSA is looking forward to advocating for legislation like the Advanced Industries Investment Tax Credit, which will not only strengthen our ecosystem but will provide the state with much-needed economic activity.
Advanced Industries Investment Tax Credit
CBSA is proud to lead the advocacy efforts to reauthorize the Advanced Industries Investment Tax Credit this session. The tax credit over the past decade has benefitted 24 life sciences companies in our ecosystem that we’re able to access over $7 million in capital. The credit not only supports our ecosystem’s critical needs for capital but also the six other advanced industries in the state which include: Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Energy & Natural Resources, Electronics, Aerospace, and Infrastructure Engineering.
The strong budget forecasts presented to the Joint Budget Committee last month by the Governor’s Office and Legislative Council are helping to set the stage to increase the tax credit’s annual cap from $750,000 to $4 million resulting in a 433% increase. CBSA will be sharing regular updates on the progress of the legislation as it is expected to be introduced at a later point during the session. The Association is happy to be working with a strong slate of bipartisan sponsors on the legislation, Rep. Shannon Bird, Rep. Mike Lynch, and two members of the JBC, Senators Chris Hansen and Bob Rankin.
The credit currently allows individuals who make qualifying investments to claim an income tax credit equal to 25% of their investment or 30% (proposed increase to 35%) in a business that is located in a rural or economically distressed area, limited to $50,000 per investor.
Governor Polis Delivers the State of the State
On Thursday, Governor Jared Polis delivered his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly. He started by acknowledging the challenges Coloradans have faced over the past two years amid a global pandemic, economic crisis impacting families, and growing public safety concerns. During his speech, the Governor pledged to cut taxes, reduce or waive fees, and eliminate government-imposed financial barriers to starting a business. “We must double down on our promise to help every business and family succeed. That means taking less of your hard-earned money in fees and taxes, and putting more in your pockets and paychecks”.
CBSA 2022 State Policy Priorities
Protect Patient Access to Health Innovation
CBSA works to protect timely patient access to needed therapies and technologies. To support this priority, CBSA promotes policies that improve coverage and access to groundbreaking treatments by removing unnecessary coverage barriers and reducing delays to treatment.
Strengthen Incentives for Innovation
CBSA advocates for a public policy environment that strengthens incentives for innovation and offers predictability on the path from research to market. CBSA works to mitigate or defeat any new legislative or regulatory proposals that will impede research, place undue burdens on the industry, or create unintended consequences for our members.
Increase Capital and Growth
CBSA fosters the growth of successful access to capital programs, including the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program, the Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit, and the Advanced Industries Export Program. CBSA advocates to bring new life sciences investments to Colorado and explore new funding models that could attract additional public and private capital.
Promote a Favorable Tax and Regulatory Environment
CBSA advocates for proposals to strengthen the state’s tax and regulatory environment, which is crucial to maintain and grow a competitive life sciences ecosystem. This includes efforts to modernize the state’s economic development incentives and enact new tax policies to spur company and capital formation. CBSA also works to prevent erosive measures that could make it harder to expand current companies or attract new life sciences companies to Colorado.
Cultivate an Educated Workforce
CBSA supports workforce development initiatives to create a talent pipeline for the growing life sciences ecosystem. CBSA champions efforts to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and encourages the development of educational pathways, internship programs, and other initiatives to grow Colorado’s life sciences workforce.
Promote Strategies to Improve Public Health
CBSA is committed to promoting strategies and public policies that improve public health and build healthier communities in Colorado. This includes advancing proposals to prevent disease, reduce health disparities, and foster equitable access to therapies and technologies.
Advance Ecosystem Priorities within the Colorado State Budget
In the 2022-23 fiscal year, the state will continue to make strategic investments to fund essential programs and stimulate the economy. CBSA will advocate for funding for ecosystem priorities, including the Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit.