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Dozens of local officials, Westminster networkers and residents of Covenant Village of Colorado converged on the sunny first day of June as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law the Don’t Tax Grandma’s Meatloaf bill.House Bill 16-1187 aims to help Colorado retirement communities control costs for residents by maintaining the sales tax exemption for meals served to residents of retirement communities. It was sponsored by Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada), Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Wheat Ridge), Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), and Sen. Chris Holbert (R-Parker) were the bill sponsors, and it was supported by LeadingAge Colorado, an organization that represents senior living and care providers.The bill addressed a Colorado Department of Revenue-proposed change to a long-time understanding of the law that meals served to residents in retirement communities are exempt from sales and use tax.“We said, `No, that’s not right. This is their home and you don’t get charged sales tax for food you eat at your home,’ ” Kraft-Tharp said before the bill signing. “So, we did the bill. It had a lot of support in the legislature and, obviously, the governor supports it because he’s coming out here to Westminster to sign it.”The law creates several tax exemptions that address the sale, storage, use or consumption of food, food products, snacks, beverages and meals in retirement communities. Retirement communities include independent living, assisted living residences and nursing facilities. The exemption does not apply to meals served to guests or employees.“We are honored to have hosted the ceremonial bill signing,” said Kent Mulkey, executive director of Covenant Village of Colorado. “The ability to provide living options and care for our seniors is a priority for all of us.”Hickenlooper praised Kraft-Tharp and other legislators who he said found — and fixed — problems.“The longer I’m around this job the more I appreciate how hard legislators work. You guys are lucky to have in Rep. Kraft-Tharp one of the very best, one of the real leaders on our legislature,” Hickenlooper said. “I think (this bill) is a basic right and very good legislators find places where there’s inequality … and then they figure out how to fix it.”Alice Douthit, speaking to Kraft-Tharp before the bill-signing began, said she was pleased with legislators’ efforts in passing the law.“I came here from a community in Florence … where we have (many) senior citizens,” she said. “They’re going to be glad to hear this bill has been signed. Good news.”
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