Mesa County is First in Colorado to Roll Out Jump-Start Program
Jump-Start was Approved by the Colorado Legislature in 2015
The Jump-Start program approved by the Colorado Legislature during last year’s session, is limited to no more than three economically distressed regions a year that team up with a local college or university. The Colorado Economic Development Commission, part of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade previously approved the application for Mesa County. On Thursday, January 14th the commission approved the application submitted by Colorado Mesa University that will team up with Mesa County.
The Jump-Start program is unique for those that qualify can create virtually tax-free zones as a way of attracting new businesses. Mesa County’s enrollment in the program can help budding business owners take the next step to launching their ideas and products locally. Jon Maraschin, the executive director of Grand Junction’s Business Incubator Center said “those companies that are innovative and looking for a community that wants them, that message is more valuable by far than tax incentives.”
The Jump-Start program is modeled after a similar program in New York. Under it, businesses that qualify can be exempt from paying state income taxes, and receive sales and use tax refunds on purchases of all tangible personal property as long as it is used exclusively in the tax-friendly zone, for a our year period with an option of reapplying for another four years. Employees of those businesses up to 300 in certain circumstances are also entitle to an income tax credit of all of their wages for the four year period.
The zone application includes all of the county, the cities of Fruita and Grand Junction, and the town of Palisade. De Beque and Collbran also are expected to be included in the new zone, but town councils there have not yet approved resolutions to be a part of program, a requirement of being included.
The message to businesses is that this is a very business-friendly place and can make the difference in their bottom line to locate in Mesa County.
Three businesses that could be the first to locate in Mesa County under the program are: Colorado Clean, a Palisade based water bottling company; TSW Analytics, a scientific consultancy and analytical laboratory service business currently located in Australia; and ProStar Geocorp, a software company which moved into new office space on Horizon Drive last month.
Local officials say the program could lead to even more economic development regardless of the tax credits. Guidelines for businesses to apply to the program.