Romer: New regulations for businesses in 2023
Twenty laws passed by the Colorado legislature and signed by Gov. Jared Polis last year go into full or partial effect as of Jan. 1, and local sales taxes are changing for most of the Eagle River Valley. They cover a broad array of topics, and here is a look at a few new regulations and rules that business owners and operators should be aware of for 2023.
Plastic Pollution Reduction Act
As of the new year, the state law requires retail stores in Colorado to charge $0.10 per paper or plastic bag provided to customers at checkout. This law was put in place through Colorado HB21-1162, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.
This phased effort will minimize the number of plastic bags that damage recycling equipment, fill landfills, and pollute the environment. Businesses within Eagle County are subject to state law and Eagle County will be administering it within unincorporated areas.
The store is entitled to retain 4 cents for every bag, which may be used for employee training and administration of the bag fee program, purchase of reusable or paper bags, or other measures. Stores are required to remit 6 cents of the 10-cent fee to the County for recycling, composting and other waste diversion programs, including outreach and education activities.
By Jan. 1, 2024, the law will ban carryout plastic bags with a continued fee on paper carryout bags. Additionally, in 2024, a polystyrene (Styrofoam) ban will go into effect on all to-go food containers and cups in restaurants and schools.
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Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 in November 2020, paving the way for a state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program. The FAMLI program will ensure all Colorado workers have access to paid leave to take care of themselves or their family during life circumstances that pull them away from their jobs — like growing their family or taking care of a loved one with a serious health condition.
On Jan. 1, 2023, Colorado employers and employees started contributing to the FAMLI program. Benefits will become available to most Colorado workers starting in January 2024. Local businesses have a variety of steps to take and can learn more at FAMLI.colorado.gov/.
Eagle Valley Regional Transit Authority sales tax
Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, businesses in several towns and parts of unincorporated Eagle County will need to start collecting a 0.50% sales tax for the newly created Eagle Valley Regional Transportation Authority. The sales tax needs to be collected in areas where the RTA was approved by voters, including unincorporated Eagle County (except the Roaring Fork Valley; the Towns of Avon, Eagle, Minturn, Red Cliff, and Vail; and the Beaver Creek Metropolitan District).
The RTA sales tax will be administered by the Colorado Department of Revenue in the same manner as the state sales tax already collected by local businesses. The RTA will follow all the state of Colorado exemptions, including food for domestic consumption and gas and electric for residential use. Additional information about state-collected sales tax can be found at Tax.Colorado.gov.
Of note, the RTA sales tax rate is 0.50% and is separate from Eagle County sales tax. Businesses should not submit as part of their Eagle County sales tax. For more information, please visit EagleValleyRTA.org.
Business operators looking for more information can find additional details about state-collected sales tax at tax.colorado.gov.
Chris Romer is President & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com.