Some politicians will do anything to keep more of your money. This year the legislature will do everything possible not only to deceive the voters, but also to try to rob us of the opportunity to vote on Proposition 120 as written.
Prop 120’s ballot clearly states that it is a $ 1.03 billion drop in property tax for both residential and non-residential properties. This language was approved by the Colorado Supreme Court before it was officially put on the ballot. The legislature then passed a bill to try to thwart the vote. They also sent out the Blue Book – which says the tax cut only applies to apartment buildings and vacation rental properties – in hopes that it would confuse voters enough to make them vote no. Fortunately, the actual elective language is what counts legally, not the Blue Book. If Prop 120 passes, we will take the legislature in the courts to make sure everyone gets the tax cut they voted for.
Proposal 120 is so important to Coloradans because property taxes are skyrocketing. Earlier this year, most Colorado residents saw double-digit increases in the value of their homes (and property taxes). This surge is having a big impact on everyone – but especially seniors, people on fixed incomes, and families living from paycheck to paycheck. And higher property taxes not only affect homeowners, but also tenants. When property taxes rise, that increase is passed on to tenants.
Proposal 120 would also lower business tax, which is important for Colorado’s small businesses. According to a study by the Common Sense Institute, Colorado’s commercial real estate rate is almost twice that of Utah and three times that of Wyoming. Unfortunately, Colorado’s unemployment rate ranks 35th among the worst in the country. As we rebuild our economies after the pandemic, we need to be aware of the pressures we are placing on our small businesses.
The time is perfect for this property tax cut because the government is overflowing with money. State and local governments have received over $ 12 billion in federal stimulus funds – pouring billions of new dollars into our education system. Additionally, government revenues have rebounded enough that we are expected to receive $ 3 billion in taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) refunds over the next 3 years. This ensures that Proposition 120 would only slow government growth, not actually cut it.
And as a huge TABOR backer, I was happy to help the campaign defeat Proposition CC 2019 (which would have ended TABOR refunds forever). Proposition 120 would not undermine TABOR. All it does is let the state withhold $ 25 million for the Homestead Exemption for Seniors and Disabled Veterans. Currently, however, the first part of the TABOR reimbursement money is already going to the Homestead exception. Since lawmakers have ignored the constitutional mandate to fund the Homestead exception on several occasions, those $ 25 million will help create incentives to actually fund it.
Proposition 120 is the right first step to get a grip on property taxes. I encourage you to follow the editorship of the Colorado Springs Gazette: “Cut Taxes – Defy Politicians. Vote yes to Prop 120. “
Michael Fields is the executive director of Colorado Rising State Action and a sponsor of Proposition 120
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