The Colorado Public Interest Research Group, also known as CoPIRG, released a new study that reveals how much money Colorado's losing to offshore tax dodging.
Officials with CoPIRG took their message to City Hall in Grand Junction Tuesday morning.
They said last year alone, our state lost $504M in tax revenue due to loopholes.
To avoid paying taxes, many large corporations and some of the wealthiest individuals shift their profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes, according to CoPIRG.
Those in the research group said Wells Fargo, Verizon, Boeing and Comcast are some of the biggest offenders in Colorado.
Matthew Tonge, program associate for CoPIRG, said "Tax dodging is not a victimless offense. When corporations skirt taxes, the public is stuck with the tab."
"And since offshore tax dodgers avoid both state and federal taxes, they hurt everyday taxpayers twice," Tonge said.
KJCT met with the research group Tuesday morning to learn how it plans to remedy the current situation.
"One thing we can do here in Colorado to start, is have our legislators actually talk to their colleagues at the federal level to ensure that they are, you know, looking at ways of closing these tax loopholes to keep the money here," said Tonge.
"And at a state level we can actually make sure we write tax laws that say if they do business here they have to make sure they pay their taxes here," he added.
Here are some of the more interesting notes from the study.
CoPIRG: $504M lost in Colorado would have been enough to fund:
- Pay the salary for 10,200 additional school teachers.
- Increase the amount of money we spend on education by $500/student.
- Chop about a quarter off the state's general sales tax rate or more than a quarter off property taxes, without a loss of public revenue.
- Pay for all of the damages caused by the wildfires in 2012; one of the most expensive years in Colorado's wildfire history.
- Cover one third of the estimated cost of $1.5B needed every year just to sustain and repair our roads and bridges.
- Money would help improve our mental health system which is underfunded; something brought up with the recent debate around gun violence.
More budget battles are expected in the next couple of weeks.
CoPIRG officials hope by highlighting the loss of revenue, lawmakers will act to prevent rising taxes and cuts to the state budget in the future.