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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers are pushing a new bill designed to modernize the tax code by providing relief to those who need it and increasing taxes on the wealthy.

  • The two-bill package would generate more than $100 million in additional annual revenue for the state once fully implemented, according to early estimates from advocates.

Details: The legislation eliminates about $350 million to $400 million in existing tax breaks for wealthy earners and businesses, some of which stemmed from former President Donald Trump's tax cuts.

  • It also offers $170 million in new tax breaks for low-income earners and another $70 million in cuts for small business owners.

Why it matters: The legislation is one of the most significant shifts in the state's tax code in years, and it's expected to draw heavy lobbying pressure in the final weeks of the legislative session.

What they're saying: "We have a chance to conduct business as usual or we have a choice to confront what this pandemic has brought into stark relief," said state Rep. Emily Sirota, a Denver Democrat and bill sponsor.

The existing tax breaks that Democrats want to curtail would:

  • Add a $30,000 cap on itemized deductions for individual filers with gross income over $400,000 a year.
  • Put a $15,000 cap on contributions to a 529 college savings account for joint filers.
  • Eliminate the pass-through deduction in the 2017 federal tax bill for those making more than $500,000.

The new tax breaks the bill adds include:

  • Increasing the earned income tax credit to 20% for those with income below $57,000.
  • A state-level child tax credit for individuals and families with children under age 6 and incomes below $85,000 a year.
  • An increase in the tax break for business personal property taxes from $7,900 to $50,000, which will cost the state $70 million a year.

Many of the changes "eliminate the special treatment in taxes that aren't achieving their objectives," said Carol Hedges, the executive director at the Colorado Fiscal Institute, a bill supporter.

The other side: Republican lawmakers said they needed more time to review the bill, but lawmakers expressed concerns that it generates more tax revenue for the state than tax breaks for residents.

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Go deeper

May 11, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

How Minnesota funds its roughly $50 billion state budget

Expand chart
Data: Pew Charitable Trusts; Chart: Axios Visuals

The ongoing budget debate at the State Capitol begs the question: Where does Minnesota get the cash used to fund government programs?

By the numbers: Pew Trusts broke it down and found the majority — just over 60% — comes from taxpayers.

Updated 50 mins ago - World

North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2018. Photo: Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resume previously suspended communication channels between the two countries.

Why it matters: The resumption of the hotline on Tuesday comes despite stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang on the denuclearization of North Korea, which broke down after a second summit between then-President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal in 2019.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Teen swimmer Lydia Jacoby wins 1st U.S. women's Olympic gold in Tokyo

Lydia Jacoby of Team USA wins gold in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games, completing the race with a time of 1:04.95.

Of note: The Alaskan beat defending Olympic champion and fellow American Lilly King, who won bronze. Tatjana Shoenmaker from South Africa took home the silver medal.