Rep. Roberts’ bill nominated for honor |

Rep. Roberts’ bill nominated for honor

Group’s 2021 Ideas Challenge recognizes innovation

Vail Daily staff report
Colorado State Rep. Dylan Roberts.
John Ingold/Colorado Sun

The NewDEAL has announced that Colorado State Rep. Dylan Roberts’ efforts to increase investments in rural counties have made him a finalist in the 2021 Ideas Challenge — a competition among state and local policymakers to propose the most effective solutions on an array of issues. Policy experts vote for the proposals that best improve Americans’ economic well-being and overall quality of life, and make government work more effectively to meet communities’ needs.

After evaluation by a diverse panel of judges, Roberts’ idea for jump-starting rural businesses and economies is a finalist among submissions in the Rebuilding Jobs and the Economy category. His Rural Jump-Start Small Businesses Tax Credit and Incentive Program, which he passed through the Colorado Legislature in 2020, helps economically distressed communities attract new businesses and jobs by allowing counties, municipalities and higher education institutions to work together to apply to be designated as rural jump-start zones.

In those communities, which include Routt, Moffat and Garfield counties, new businesses can receive incentive payments and tax relief, which includes credits and exemptions, as well as refunds from state income tax, state sales and use tax, and county and municipal personal property taxes. In addition, employees of new businesses receive a grant and a tax credit for 100% of state income taxes on wages.

The Challenge was open to the 178 members of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), an organization that supports state and local pro-growth progressive elected officials through the exchange of ideas and engagement with other top public, private and nonprofit sector officials.

The five winners of the Ideas Challenge will be announced Thursday, Nov. 18, at the 11th annual NewDEAL Leaders Conference in Washington.

“I am thrilled to be named a finalist and to be included in this group of talented leaders across the country,” said Roberts, a Democrat who represents Eagle and Routt counties. “We must do more to support small businesses and working families in all corners of our state, and there is no time for theoretical debates and political rhetoric to solve our problems. … By building on what we have learned from best practices, the Rural Jump-Start incentive program is already working to boost economic opportunities in our mountain and rural communities. I’m excited to have the chance to share it as a template that can be replicated by NewDEALers and others across the country.”

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