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Colorado lawmakers in race against time as adjournment deadline looms

Democrats introduce last-minute bill to boost TABOR refunds for some Coloradans
colorado capitol
Posted at 9:13 AM, May 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-07 11:18:56-04

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers are spending the final hours of the legislative session debating major pieces of legislation that could impact Coloradans in every part of the state.

One of the biggest bills they are considering is Gov. Jared Polis’ property tax bill.

Because property values are rising, homeowners are facing significantly bigger tax bills next year.

The governor says his proposal will provide relief.

“Homeowners in our state face record increases if we don't act,” said Polis. “This will decrease the property tax rate for every homeowner in our state.”

The governor says his plan, which already passed the state senate, will cut the average homeowner’s property tax bill increase in half.

Property taxes would still go up, just not as much.

“It is no secret that Colorado is a great place to live and work, and as our state grows, we must take action to ensure people can thrive in the community they love,” said Polis. “This proposal will cut the average homeowners’ tax increase in half and deliver long-term relief to protect people, especially seniors on a fixed income, from being priced out of their homes.”

An analysis by the Colorado Legislative Council staff said the plan would lead to lower TABOR refunds in the future.

Colorado lawmakers in race against time as adjournment deadline looms

Critics say the plan doesn’t add up.

“If you're just cutting my increase, you're not saving me money. I'm still getting an increase,” said State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-District 23.

They say it will hurt the 40% of Coloradans who rent because landlords will pass any increase in property taxes onto their tenants.

“Guess how much renters are going to save? Zero. In fact, they're going in the hole,” said Kirkmeyer.

Concerns like that are why Democrats unveiled a last-minute bill Saturday during the House appropriations committee.

The bill aims to make TABOR refunds equal for all Coloradans.

“We think that this will mathematically, demonstrably deliver a little bit more support to our most struggling constituents,” said State Representative Mike Weissman, one of the bill’s sponsors.

According to a fiscal note by the Legislative Council Staff, all single filers would see a refund of $661, and joint filers would see a refund of over $1,322.

Coloradans who make under $100,000 would see an increase in their TABOR refunds next year.

Coloradans who make over $100,000 would see a decrease in their TABOR refunds.

Fiscal note on HB23-1311
Coloradans earning under $100,000 would see an increase in their TABOR check next year. Those earning more than $100,000 would see a decrease.

But like the property tax bill, the new bill is contingent on voters approving a ballot measure in November.

The new bill passed the appropriations committee on a 6-4 vote.

Republicans were upset that neither they nor the public had time to review the bill before the committee voted on it.

The bill now moves to the House floor for debate.

The deadline for lawmakers to adjourn is Monday.

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