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Gov. Polis calls on local governments to reduce mill levies to provide more property tax relief for homeowners

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Posted at 1:00 PM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 15:23:03-05

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – Governor Jared Polis on Thursday urged local governments across the state to reduce their mill levies to further ease the burden of skyrocketing property taxes on Colorado homeowners.

Speaking at Colorado Mountain College’s Breckenridge campus, Polis praised the work of lawmakers during the legislative special session, which wrapped up with the passing of a series of bills aimed at saving homeowners hundreds of dollars in their tax bills next year.

One of the bills passed would raise the deduction for a home’s value not subject to taxes from $15,000 to $55,000. It would also reduce the residential assessment rate from 6.765% to 6.7%. For a homeowner with a house valued at $500,000 in an area with an average mill levy, savings would amount to about $500, according to the governor.

Still, what the state has done “is just a baseline for everybody,” Polis said during Thursday’s news conference. “The fact that the state is subtracting $55,000 from the valuation… you still have an increase in your property taxes unless that (mill) levy is reduced. In areas that have higher appreciation, those areas have the opportunity to look at additional relief.”

One of the areas looking at that additional relief is the Colorado Mountain College’s special district, Polis said, announcing the district plans to reduce its mill levy across Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Lake, Garfield, Pitkin, Summit, and Routt counties to help homeowners in the area.

“If your property taxes are going much, much higher than your income, it makes Colorado less affordable,” Polis said, as he urged local governments to offset some of the biggest valuation spikes Colorado has seen due to inflation, which they can do thanks to legislation he signed into law that allows local municipalities to temporarily lower their tax rates without risking permanent loss of revenue.

Gov. Jared Polis urges local governments to reduce their mills to ease high property taxes

In a letter to local governments sent Thursday, Polis wrote that it was now up to local officials across counties, municipalities and special districts to reduce mill levies to provide more relief.

“Hardworking people in Colorado cannot afford a 40% increase in their tax bills, or even a 20% increase,” Polis wrote in his letter. “Wages have not gone up by anything close to this amount, and high inflation and interest rates are creating an affordability challenge for many Colorado families.”

At the CMC’s Breckenridge campus, Polis also said he has directed the Department of Local Affairs to provide a toolkit that districts can use to lower their rates this year “while preserving budgetary flexibility.”

Polis urged local officials to act sooner rather than later, arguing they had about “two to three weeks” to do so.

“Now that I have urged our local elected leaders to reduce their mill levy as much as possible, I encourage you to reach out to your local taxing districts as well,” Polis wrote in an op-ed submitted to our partners at The Denver Post. “Your local elected officials need to hear from you. Ask them to reduce the property tax rates this year to make your community more affordable.”

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