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Q&A with state Sen. Jack Tate

Centennial Republican touts tax credits for affordable housing

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Jack Tate is a small-business owner involved in helping other companies and organizations with decision-making in capital investments. A Republican, Tate lives in Centennial and serves state Senate District 27, which includes Foxfield, Centennial and unincorporated Arapahoe County areas adjacent to Centennial. He previously served in 2015 as the representative for state House District 37, which is an overlapping and similar area to his current Senate district. He has served three sessions in the state Legislature.

What is the most important issue for the Legislature to tackle this session, and what needs to be done?

The most important issue this session is Colorado's public pension system, known as PERA (Public Employees' Retirement Association). Depending on the discount rate used for analysis, the plan is somewhere between $30 billion and $100 billion underfunded. This unfunded liability presents long-term stability and solvency issues that jeopardize retirement security for many thousands of Coloradans as well as the fiscal health of the state. To keep our promises to retirees as well as current workers, comprehensive pension plan reform is essential. We also need to recognize that new workers value retirement plan flexibility and transportability differently than earlier generations. Overall, this really should not a partisan issue, as it is just a complicated math problem … The size and scope of the liability is so large that any permanent reform, one that shores up long-term risk and assures funding for present and future retirees, will affect everyone.

What are two pieces of legislation that you plan to sponsor, and why?

As chair of the Senate's Business, Labor and Technology Committee, I tend to work on commercial and financial legislation. Two areas of focus for me beside PERA are the relatively high costs of both housing and auto insurance for Coloradans as compared to other states … We have unique economic and legal factors here in Colorado that drive these differences. While we continue to monitor the new supply of for-sale condominiums following last session's passage of the first step of construction litigation reform, we also see rental-unit pricing surging higher. I will be sponsoring the renewal and expansion of affordable housing-tax credits that incentivize the private development of housing aimed toward lower-income Coloradans.

I am also sponsoring a bill that will close loopholes by which improper lawsuits against auto-insurance companies cause all of our rates to be higher than they should be. My daughter's car insurance went up 20 percent when she had it transferred here to Colorado. Same person, same car!

For this session to be deemed a success, what must happen?

In an election year, it is always difficult to get meaningful, bipartisan legislation passed on big topics. A successful session will address PERA, housing, various insurance markets, the local economies of rural Colorado and the opioid crisis, for which I am sponsoring solution-oriented legislation as well.

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