Colorado one step closer to offering rebates on weddings
Event stimulus bill, sponsored by Eagle County legislator Dylan Roberts, passes House Committee on Business Affairs & Labor
A bill to give state-sponsored rebates to event organizers passed its first test on Thursday, receiving a nod of approval from the Colorado House Committee on Business Affairs & Labor.
House Bill 21-1263’s prime sponsors include Rep. Dylan Roberts, who represents portions of Eagle and Routt counties in the Colorado House of Representatives.
Roberts is the chair of the House Committee on Business Affairs & Labor, which voted 10-3 in favor of sending the bill on to the House Appropriations Committee.
Once in appropriations, Roberts is hoping to see $10 million go to the program, which would be administered by the Colorado Tourism Office. The funds would come from the roughly $700 million state economic stimulus plan, which was announced by Governor Jared Polis, along with Democrat and Republican lawmakers, in March.
The bill received a friendly amendment from Rep. Shannon Bird of Adams County, who changed the language to ensure no more than 7% of the money appropriated to the fund would go to administration of the events rebate program.
“We put some guardrails there making sure the bulk of the funds are allocated to actual rebates and the intended incentives,” Bird said.
The bill also received an amendment from Roberts, who took out language that would differentiate weddings and personal events from business conferences and professional events.
Any event which takes place July 1 to Dec. 31 and generates at least 25 paid overnight stays in a lodging establishment is eligible for rebates of up to 10% for hard costs and 25% for costs associated with making the event compliant with health orders.
The bill was opposed by Representatives Patrick Neville, Shane Sandridge and Kevin Van Winkle. Van Winkle questioned the weddings aspect of the bill, and the fact that brides and grooms would be submitting receipts to the Colorado Tourism Office to redeem their rebates.
“Does (the rebate) go back to the bride and groom paying for it, or the companies they’re essentially hiring, like the DJ and the caterer?” Van Winkle asked.
“The idea is it goes to the main organizer of the wedding,” Roberts said. “So if they hired a wedding planner, it could go to that company, if they organized it themselves, it could go to those costs.”
In asking where and how the wedding organizer would prove their costs, Van Winkle received a response from Roberts detailing the state of Colorado’s plan to administer the program.
“The bill will direct the Colorado Tourism Office to contract with a third-party administrator, who will come up with the intake and outtake process of this, and set up further rules on how to submit receipts, how to prove costs and how to remit the money to the event organizers,” Roberts said.
In his closing remarks to the committee, Roberts called the bill a forward-looking effort.
“While this is an investment in a temporary program, we’re going to see very long-term and large benefits from passing this bill and creating this program,” he said.