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Colorado Considers Limits on “Crash Taxes”

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CrashWhat is a “crash tax”? In simplest terms, a crash tax is a charge levied by local governments on out-of-town drivers who have been determined to have caused car accidents in their jurisdiction. The fees are for emergency services provided. They are also wildly unpopular in some areas and somewhat controversial across the board.

Crash taxes may be facing some limitations soon if a certain measure makes it through the halls of Colorado’s state government. The Coloradoan gives us some details about the measure in question :

The Republican-led House narrowly approved a limited ban on crash taxes on a voice vote Monday. The measure originally banned all local governments from levying crash taxes, but the bill was changed to include only Front Range cities such as Denver, Aurora and Colorado Springs. Pueblo and the entire Western Slope were excluded from the crash tax ban.

Currently, Golden is the only Colorado city that has crash taxes. The crash taxes affect only accidents where emergency services are called to respond outside of Golden. Denver considered “crash taxes” last year, but decided against them.

Kristen Wyatt of Business Week reports that House Republicans supporting the ban are adopting the same stance that Denver took when it decided against them:

‘It seems it would just encourage retaliation from other cities, until everybody’s charging each other’s residents and the taxes aren’t doing much anyway,’ said the ban sponsor, Republican Rep. Spencer Swalm, of Centennial, in suburban Denver.

The fact that the measure in its current form does not apply to all municipalities is a bone of contention for opponents of the bill. Wyatt also reports their view later in the same article:

Democrats complained about revising the bill to pick which cities can’t charge crash taxes.

‘This is adding a layer of micromanagement that isn’t necessary,’ said Rep. Roger Wilson, D-Glenwood Springs, which still would be allowed to charge crash taxes.

The measure is up for a more formal vote in the House, and, if it passes, it goes to the Colorado Senate.

Image by bettx1138, used under its Creative Commons license.


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