Colorado property tax increase to be capped for two years under bill

Proponents of dueling property tax measures on November’s ballot have agreed to pull back after lawmakers approved a bill Friday to ease the burden on tax payers.

The bill aims to ease the rising tax burden that comes with rocketing property values. It was introduced Monday and raced through both chambers of the General Assembly in its final 10 days. It caps the amount of value that properties are taxed for the 2023 and 2024 tax years.

In its unveiling, Gov. Jared Polis said it would save the owner of a $500,000 home an average of $274 a year. It will cost the state an estimated $700 million over two years, funded via one time money, as tax refunds required under the Tax Payer Bill of Rights or simply chalked up as lost revenue.

The measure was designed to head off proposed ballot initiatives, including one from state Rep. Colin Larson, R-Littleton, to cap property tax increase at 3%. But those backers, including others backed by liberal and conservative groups, put down their metaphorical arms, right down to signing affidavits as political peace treaties.

Hansen said he hoped the bill gives the public confidence in the legislature being able to react “to the urgency of this moment. I think that’s one of the great things about the legislative process. We can act nimbly when we need to be. We can act fast.”

He hoped to spend the buffer created by the mill establishing a longer term solution to property tax volatility.

Larson ended up voting for the bill, but he didn’t let up criticism that he believes the $200 million in tax refunds being used to fund this — essentially, it’s taking money that taxpayers would have gotten back anyway and calling it extra relief, he said.

He considered it people going back on their word.

“At the end of the day, $500 million is a significant amount of relief,” Larson said. “And while they went back on their word, and while it should have been more, and while I’m very disappointed, I’m not going to sit here and cast a no vote on delivering money to people who need it.”

Hansen declined to respond to Larson’s characterization.

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