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Businesses who get anything delivered to them will now pay a small “fee” to the state for the privilege of remaining in business. It’s added on everything from Amazon deliveries and GrubHub to restaurant supplies, business products, and anything else that is subject to sales tax and delivered by motor vehicle.  

The 27-cent fee is a tax, plain and simple — but the state is careful not to call it that. In fact, the state managed to get around the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights by creating four separate enterprise funds in order to implement the fees. So much for smaller government and the ease of doing business in Colorado. 

The companies delivering the goods now have an added burden of collecting the money and remitting it to the state. And those receiving the goods have yet another charge to their bottom line, right along with higher gas prices and inflated costs of just about everything else.  

To add insult to injury, most businesses were unaware of the fee until recently, and final rules aren’t complete — although the state is already collecting the money.

It’s just about the worst time for additional costs to local businesses, who are tentatively recovering from pandemic setbacks, struggling to keep staff and dealing with higher prices. Is the General Assembly actually that oblivious to the struggles of local, small businesses? 

It’s interesting that it comes as Colorado’s government says it’s working to relieve the inflationary pressure on businesses and residents. It’s even more interesting to learn that the fee is 27 cents this year, but is adjusted for inflation in future years, according to the transportation bill that led to its creation. And let’s all hope that the war in Ukraine is over by next year, because the state plans a 2-cent gas tax as well. 

The $1.2 billion raised from the fee over the next 10 years is made up of smaller fees that go to specific projects, including air pollution control in metro Denver and northern Colorado. Nice for them. Not great if you live south of Monument Hill in the fastest-growing metropolitan area in Colorado.  

Money is also earmarked for electric vehicle adoption and promotion,  as well as roads and bridge repairs. Maybe the Springs can get some of the money to help local transit projects. 

Still, it’s bad timing for an additional fee and additional regulatory burdens. Small businesses, in particular, are still putting pieces together after the worst of the pandemic. Other small businesses created during the pandemic rely now on deliveries. Those businesses have been hit not only with higher gas prices, but also this fee. 

In the future, let’s hope General Assembly considers the impact of its actions before voting on something that harms businesses.