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Pueblo, CO Half-Cent Tax Targets Economic Development

Voters approve measure for attracting more business

By Kevin Litwin on August 3, 2014

B Street Patio Redevelopment Project

Jack Rink knows Pueblo went through difficult economic times in the early 1980s, yet citizens were wise enough to vote “yes” to impose an additional half-cent sales tax in 1984. That half-cent tax is still in effect today, with the money going toward a variety of economic development projects earmarked to attract more large companies to Pueblo and ultimately diversify the economy base.

“Over the years, the money has been used in several progressive ways, for example, installing needed infrastructure in our industrial parks to create an environment for businesses to relocate to our community,” says Rink, president and CEO of Pueblo Economic Development Corp. “Another example is providing incentive money to help new companies with their building and equipment needs to ease their transition process, so they indeed choose Pueblo to locate.”

Since the original 1984 passage, the half-cent tax has been renewed several times by a vote of the people, and the current economic development fund is about $40 million. The tax vote will return to the ballot in 2016, and Rink says the money is vital in helping to bring major employers and primary jobs to Pueblo, as well as supplier companies and their corresponding spinoff jobs.

“This is a unique program in the state of Colorado that shows Pueblo’s commitment in trying to provide higher-paying jobs,” he says. “We appreciate the trust that the voters of Pueblo have put into the value of economic development, and PEDCO continues to aggressively recruit more companies that will hopefully choose Pueblo to do business.”

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