Colorado lawmakers are convening for the second day of a special session Saturday as they advance legislation that aims to provide property tax relief, flatten state tax refunds and provide more aid aimed at preventing evictions for renters.
Friday’s opening day featured quick work by committees to advance the majority Democrats’ bills — while also rejecting Republican-sponsored legislation. Tangling over the expedited three-day schedule erupted in a Senate floor dispute Friday night between Republicans and Democrats, resulting in contested rules votes and a delay that will likely extend the session into Monday.
On Saturday, the Senate plans to convene mid-morning and hold preliminary floor votes on legislation. The House aims to take final votes on bills introduced in that chamber, sending them to the Senate.
This story will be updated throughout the day.
The special session that began Friday was called by Gov. Jared Polis in response to voters’ rejection of Proposition HH in the Nov. 7 election. The measure, championed by Polis and Democratic legislative leaders, had aimed to reduce the size of coming property tax increases that are driven by recent increases in property values across the state that average about 40% at the median.
Prop. HH also would have provided compensation to school districts and local governments and special districts that rely on property tax revenue for their budgets.
Now lawmakers are pursuing a similar strategy, though the changes would apply only for the coming year. The direct property tax relief provisions match those proposed in Prop. HH for residential properties, though the “backfill” provisions for local entities differ.
Disagreements around Prop. HH and the election results have played into this weekend’s legislative debates.
Special session cheat sheet
Here are the major relief proposals in bills under consideration by Colorado lawmakers in the special session:
► Direct property tax cuts: Increase in the residential property deduction and reduction in the assessment rate. Taxes still will rise in areas with fast-growing property values, but not by nearly as much (with varying impact depending on location and home value).
► Flat TABOR refunds: Estimated at more than $800 per taxpayer, rather than amounts varying by income, with the final figure depending on other legislation. Most taxpayers would receive a higher amount than under the income-tiered system.
► Doubling EITC match: A state match of 50% for workers who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, to be claimed on their Colorado tax returns.
► Rental assistance: Adding $30 million to the state’s eviction-prevention program, on top of $35 million already budgeted during the fiscal year that ends June 30.
Source: Denver Post reporting, proposed bills.
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Source:: The Denver Post – Politics