Polis also took steps to ease the tax burden on Coloradans and businesses that may be in distress.
He extended the deadline to file state income taxes for 90 days to July 15. Going a step further than a similar federal tax extension, he said the delay will impose “no conditions, no caps on the amount of tax that can be deferred for the 90-day period.”
“All businesses. All individuals. All filers will have that 90-day extension,” he said.
Polis said he also is encouraging local jurisdictions to grant businesses an extension on collecting sales taxes.
The guidance and regulatory changes unveiled Friday come after Polis in the past week shut down restaurants and bars to in-person dining until at least April 30. He also ordered casinos, gyms, salons, tattoo parlors, massage parlors and ski areas to close to slow the spread of coronavirus.
He’s called the moves difficult but necessary to prevent deeper economic damage to the state and to reduce loss of life.
Polis starts economic response team
As he acknowledged the harm the virus and his subsequent executive actions are having and will have on businesses, Polis said he was looking ahead toward the state’s recovery.
He formed an advisory panel of top business leaders to try to blunt the swift economic impact. It’s chaired by former Denver Mayor Federico Peña, who said the effect of the virus on the economy will be “enormous.”
Other members of the advisory panel, which is expected to grow and make recommendations to the governor of regulatory relief, are:
- Gary Arnold, business manager for Denver Pipefitters Local 208
- Deborah Jordy, executive director of the Science and Cultural Facilities District
- Dick Monfort, owner/chairman and CEO of the Colorado Rockies
- Blair Richardson, CEO of Bow River Capital
- Jim Crowe, retired CEO of Level3 Communications
- Brad Feld, owner and founder of the Foundry Group
“This is a global economic challenge the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime,” said Peña, who also served as the secretaries of transportation and energy in the 1990s. “The extraordinary impact we’re going to see on the state, not just on local businesses but particularly on individuals, is unheralded.”
State officials, including state Treasurer Dave Young and labor department Director Joe Barela, will also work with the team. Colorado Office of Economic Development chief Betsy Markey will coordinate.
In an email, Markey said that business executives were recruited this week and more private-sector leaders could be announced in the coming days.
“As essential as it is to have an aggressive public safety plan, it’s vitally important that we also confront Colorado’ s economic challenges head on,” she said in an email.
Polis said he is going to look at additional, immediate steps he can take to ease the burden on businesses. On Friday, for instance, he announced that the state is suspending rules so that restaurants offering takeout and delivery can sell alcohol to their customers.
“Speed is of the essence here,” Peña said. “We’ve got to help workers and companies that are struggling right now. Secondly, we want to demonstrate confidence to the broader economic players in the state that we are moving in the right direction.”
State changes testing plan
Colorado health officials on Friday also altered their testing plans for the state.
“We are rapidly working to scale up testing,” Polis said. “There are several technological ways to do that.”