The Colorado effort to provide rebates on weddings and other events passed the state house with bipartisan support on Thursday.
The bill seeks to appropriate $10 million to create a Meeting & Events Incentive Program within the Office of Economic Development & International Trade’s Colorado Tourism Office.
The bill passed the house by a vote of 48-15 and was co-sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts, of Avon.
Roberts said the events industry “took a hard hit” in Colorado during the pandemic and could use some help in recovering.
“Many of these venues and event centers were unable to access federal aid (during the pandemic),” Roberts said at a committee hearing. “This program will provide much-needed relief and economic stimulus all across our state.”
Roberts said the bill will support thousands of small businesses in Colorado “because not only will it help the events and the direct connections to these events, it will help all of the businesses in those communities when the visitors come for that event.”
If HB21-1263 passes the Senate and is signed, 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 Colorado special events sector employs at least 36,000 Coloradans, Roberts said, and it also generates over $1 billion annually in economic impact.
“In Denver alone, events typically account for 31% of hotel revenues, and are the sixth largest of the city’s 29 revenue sources,” Roberts said.
HB21-1263 was also co-sponsored by Rep. Matt Soper.
“It’s not just the one-off night that is going to help hotels and the restaurants near hotels, it’s the larger events, the festivals,” Soper said.
If passed, the bill will direct the Colorado Tourism Office to contract with a third-party administrator, who will set up rules on how to submit receipts, how to prove costs and how to remit the money to the event organizers, Roberts said.
“We’re hopeful that it will bring life in Colorado closer to where it was pre-pandemic,” Roberts said.
This content was originally published here.