NATIONAL NEWS

Colorado legislature will convene to address skyrocketing property costs

Nov 9, 2023, 12:33 PM

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis hoisted a red baseball bat and smashed emergency glass Thursday in a silly demonstration for a very real crisis — Colorado homeowners are looking down the barrel of a potential 40% jump in property tax bills.

After a ballot measure meant to quell soaring property taxes failed in Tuesday’s election, Polis turned to the emergency option of calling a special legislative session to begin Nov. 17 with the goal of providing homeowners relief before the year is out and many are stuck with unaffordable property tax bills.

Colorado’s situation isn’t unique. The last several years brought the steepest rise in home values nationwide in decades. The consequent hike in property taxes threatens seniors on fixed incomes and families struggling to afford their mortgage payments.

“The cost of inaction is too high,” Polis said at a press conference, the red bat lying on the floor behind him.

The Colorado proposition that floundered in Tuesday’s election would have limited property tax increases over the next decade in part by pulling money from the state’s one-of-a-kind tax refund, known as the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR. The refund system caps the amount of tax revenue Colorado can take in, requiring the surplus be returned to taxpayers.

The intent was to use TABOR funds to bolster local services — including schools and fire departments — that might see a drop in property tax revenue.

But last year, TABOR provided Colorado’s taxpayers with $750 each. Those checks are dear to the state’s voters, and the measure was handily beaten.

“We always knew that if Proposition HH failed, property taxes would rise dramatically for thousands of Coloradans,” said Senate President Steve Fenberg, a Democrat. “Our caucus will now be laser-focused on providing short-term relief … while protecting our schools and fire districts.”

While Michael Fields, president of the conservative group Advance Colorado, which opposed the measure, was glad the governor called the special session, he said he remains wary of what Colorado’s majority Democratic legislature will accomplish.

Conservatives are looking for much deeper tax cuts than the ballot measure offered — and than Democratic legislators may be comfortable with.

In a statement, Republican Rep. Mike Lynch, the state’s House minority leader said: “While it’s disappointing that it took the overwhelming defeat of Prop. HH to get their attention, it’s certainly my hope that the Governor and Democrats will now agree to common sense reforms.”

___

Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

National News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage by U.S. Sec...

Associated Press

Homeland Security secretary names independent panel to review Trump assassination attempt

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has appointed a bipartisan, independent panel to review this month’s assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump, officials said Sunday. The panel members will have “extensive law enforcement and security experience to conduct a 45-day independent review of the planning for and actions taken by the […]

18 minutes ago

President Joe Biden raises the hand of Vice President Kamala Harris after viewing the Independence ...

Associated Press

Kamala Harris is now in a bright spotlight as she fights to secure the Democratic presidential nod

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is being thrust into the most scrutinizing of spotlights, suddenly the leading candidate to succeed party’s main hope of defeating Republican Donald Trump. She spoke multiple times with Biden on Sunday, according to people familiar with the conversations – a day after Biden huddled with his closest aides […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Biden’s decision to drop out leaves Democrats across the country relieved and looking toward future

HARPER WOODS, Mich. (AP) — After weeks of uncertainty about who would be at the top of the Democratic Party’s ticket in November, many voters expressed relief over the news that President Joe Biden would drop his reelection bid and began to think about who might replace him in a dramatically altered election landscape. Jerod […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, ...

Associated Press

Trump’s campaign quickly pivots to Harris after Biden announces decision to leave the race

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s campaign has spent the last year-and-a-half viciously attacking Joe Biden, ridiculing his policies, mocking his fumbles and relishing a rematch they felt they were winning. But they have also spent weeks preparing for the possibility that Biden might exit the race, readying a bevy of attacks against Vice President […]

2 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden listens as Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in the Rose Garden of the...

Associated Press

Democrats promise ‘orderly process’ to replace Biden, where Harris is favored but questions remain

WASHINGTON (AP) — Shortly after President Joe Biden announced Sunday that he would drop his reelection campaign, Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison had a message: There would be no automatic coronation for his replacement. “In the coming days, the party will undertake a transparent and orderly process to move forward,” Harrison said in a […]

3 hours ago

First lady Jill Biden, left, and second gentleman Douglass Emhoff, right, watch as President Joe Bi...

Associated Press

Biden’s decision to drop out crystalized Sunday. His staff knew one minute before the public did

WASHINGTON (AP) — At 1:45 p.m. Sunday, President Joe Biden’s senior staff was notified that he was stepping away from the 2024 race. At 1:46 p.m., that message was made public. It was never Biden’s intention to leave the race: Up until he decided to step aside Sunday, he was all in. His campaign was […]

3 hours ago

Colorado legislature will convene to address skyrocketing property costs