Rachel Stovall

Ever seen a political assassination? It operates by stealth.

We have seen the overt assault of the economy in Colorado. We can hardly miss the riots or looting of businesses in Colorado. We are told that these harmful activities are about how “Black Lives Matter,” but some of us see the truth.

Only peaceful protest supports and saves black lives.

Unfortunately, a more subtle economic attack has been launched by pernicious lawmakers in Denver. To replenish the coffers of our coronavirus-depleted state budget, Democratic state lawmakers in Colorado have proposed House Bill 1420.

This bill will remove the nine tax breaks that were in the federal stimulus bill known as the CARES Act. HB1420 will also withdraw the 2017 federal tax cuts as well as slash state tax credits for certain industries.

The breaks are expected to generate $1.6 billion in revenue over the next four years. These toxic lawmakers have opted to take away this money from Colorado businesses and put the funds where they can have it.

We have been told that removing the business-oriented tax breaks is to generate more money for K-12 education. But for the first four years, half of that money is going into the state’s general fund. After that, all the money taken from small businesses or corporations can be used at lawmaker discretion.

These same lawmakers argued this past week, that the Colorado business community — with small business providing over half the jobs in our state — should pay a bigger share to replenish the state coffers. As though small-business owners often hit hard by COVID-19 are rich.

These legislators tell us that only large corporations will be affected by HB1420, but every tax deduction being removed was created specifically to be a lifeline to small business. The very owners who were slated to receive the help from the 2017 tax breaks and the CARES Act will instead suffer devastation. And many will experience fiscal death.

This bill has the potential to affect almost every industry in Colorado. We must stop this covert economic assault.

The worst of HB1420 is that black business owners in our state will be disproportionately affected by losing these tax credits. Black business owners all over Colorado might lose hard won financial gains from Colorado’s formerly healthy economy.

Trying to save black businesses across the state, a new chant is being heard in Colorado social justice demonstrations. They began in Denver on Friday: “Black business matters! Black business matters!”

Danielle Smith, the communications manager for the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce said “ … businesses that are not black-owned (are) figuring out what they can do to help … I think people are just trying to figure out how they can play a part in this change coming about.”

No wonder the sponsors of the bill are rushing it through in secret. HB1420 is a covert assassination, not only of the Colorado business community in general, but of what was the beginning of a Coloradan Black Wall Street.

Just a few months ago, Colorado had the most registered black businesses in our state history. Many have perished. With the passage of this bill, more will die.

Ever heard of Black Wall Street? In 1921, in Oklahoma white people intentionally destroyed the financial prosperity of black business owners across an entire region.

HB1420 does the same thing. This bill being covertly passed by legislators right now will kill small business in Colorado. The bill supports systemic racism as it will disproportionately affect black Coloradans — both employees and business owners. Is this the way to honor George Floyd’s death?

You and I know that it is not. “Economic independence is the foundation of political independence.” — Booker T. Washington.

Coloradans in favor of racial equality should demand that Gov. Jared Polis refuse to sign this unfair and harmful bill into law. The last thing our state needs now is legislation that increases racial and economic unfairness instead of decreasing it.

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