Four of the seven bills passed by lawmakers during an emergency session aimed at softening property tax increases and providing other forms of relief to residents were signed into law Monday evening by Gov. Jared Polis, just hours after the legislature adjourned.
The measures approved since Friday, in a session called after voters rejected Proposition HH this month, will affect nearly all Coloradans who are grappling with surging property taxes and a fast-rising cost of living. The owner of a typical $500,000 home will still see a significantly higher property tax bill early next year, but it will go up roughly half as much under the first measure signed by Polis.
Income taxpayers will see a flat refund of about $800 under another new law, which follows the flat-refund model used last year for rebates mandated by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights instead of a tiered system that provides more to higher income earners.
As many as 400,000 lower-income workers who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit will receive double the state’s usual 25% match on their state returns early next year in another law signed by Polis.
And a rental assistance program that was funded with $35 million of federal money this year would receive another $30 million infusion to keep more renters from being evicted during the first half of 2024. The new money is slightly more than the city of Denver has committed to spending on a similar program next year.
Colorado may be known for having lower property taxes compared to most states, but historic increases in property values that will drive up tax bills prompted lawmakers to act.
“After the people of our state rejected both the Gallagher and the Prop HH amendments, we have a real-life situation where across the state, assessment went up by about 40%,” Polis said during Monday’s bill-signing ceremony in his office. “Most Coloradans’ income didn’t go up by that level. And we need to cut property taxes now.”
The property tax relief law will reduce spring bills by increasing the residential deduction from property values $15,000 to $55,000, and then temporarily reducing the assessment rate that determines how much of that value is taxed. The impact depends on the home’s value and the mill levies set where the owner lives.
The Democratic lawmakers also put the focus on more than property owners, with different kinds of aid aimed at helping renters and lower-income households — policies driven by progressive members.
Colorado lawmakers passed seven bills during the four-day special session dominated by the majority Democrats, who rejected bills sponsored by Republicans.
The Democratic priority bills passed almost entirely on party-line votes, with Republicans criticizing the scope of the package as well as the decision to draw $185 million from the state’s $3.5 billion surplus to pay for the EITC matches, reducing TABOR refunds slightly for some Coloradans. GOP members also argued the legislature should have delivered even more property tax relief by drawing on the state’s reserves and reworking previous …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Politics