(The Center Square) – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is calling lawmakers to the Capitol for a special legislative session to address property taxes in the wake of Proposition HH’s defeat.
Over 60% of voters said no on Prop HH, which would have lessened the increase of property taxes in the state at the expense of taxpayer refunds. The measure was supported by the governor and majority Democrats, who passed Senate Bill 303 in the final days of the legislative session, referring the measure to the ballot.
Property values in the Denver metro area have seen 35% to 45% increases, according to county assessors.
Prop HH would have lowered the residential property tax assessment rate to 6.7% and covered lost revenue with Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights funds. Under the measure, a home valued at $500,000 would have seen a $186 to $276 reduction in property taxes this year, Colorado’s Blue Book said. Single filers with $52,001 to $103,000 incomes would have seen a projected $42 reduction in their TABOR refunds next year.
Prior to the election, Gov. Polis did not signal any support for a special session if Prop HH lost.
Last month during a Prop HH debate, House Assistant Minority Leader Rose Pugliese, R-Colorado Springs, asked the governor if he would call a special session.
“Whether it’s in January or whether it’s in November or December, and whether Prop HH passes or not, I’m all for you guys doing more property tax relief to be clear,” Gov. Polis responded. “I’m all for you guys cutting the income tax. I don’t think you’re going to see anything close to this size of a $13 billion property tax cut over 10 years…”
Polis also was asked during the debate if he had a backup plan, responding that he would support “whatever can pass the legislature.”
Colorado Republicans have repeatedly called on Polis to hold a special session to address property taxes.
“The people of Colorado have spoken. They rejected the idea that the Tax Payer Bill of Rights had to die to get property tax relief,” Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, said in a statement Wednesday after the election. “True leadership can’t wait. It is urgent that we address the property tax crisis that will drive people from their homes. The Governor must call a special session now. The legislature must act.”
Republicans plan on introducing tax relief proposals during the special session, a Senate GOP spokesperson previously told The Center Square.
Their proposals include cutting the residential property tax rate from 7.15% to 6.7%, the same as under Prop HH, but not backfilling with TABOR funds. They’ve also proposed exempting the first $50,000 of home value and lowering the income tax rate from 4.4% to 4.0%.