Colorado Lawmakers Set to Unveil Highly Anticipated Property Tax Relief Legislation

The much-anticipated property tax bill is set to be introduced early next week, providing a week for discussion in the General Assembly before its May 8 adjournment. Unlike previous bills, notably the unsuccessful 2023 legislation, this one has had the advantage of public scrutiny thanks to recommendations from the property tax commission, which has been meeting since last December.

Since the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment in 2020, property taxes have surged, with some counties seeing increases of up to 40% payable in 2024. Despite a failed replacement ballot measure in 2023, efforts to address the issue persist.

Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, spearheads the bill, aiming to solve what he calls “the most difficult math problem” he’s encountered. The bill focuses on backfilling lost revenue for schools and special districts, drawing from multiple funding sources like the state education fund, state reserve, TABOR surplus, and previously allocated funds from the 2023 session.

Key provisions include a 10% reduction in the assessment rate for homeowners and a separate tax credit for renters, ensuring relief without compromising school funding. Commercial properties are also addressed, with adjustments to assessment rates starting in 2026 and a “smoothing” approach for property valuations.

Hansen criticizes alternative measures, particularly Initiative #50, citing its lack of sustainability and potential billion-dollar debt to K-12 education. Meanwhile, other proposals, like House Concurrent Resolution 1006, face challenges due to potential impacts on the state education fund and lack of backfill for K-12.

Despite public discussion since December and inclusion in a final report last month, the bill faces criticism, with opponents like Michael Fields of Advance Colorado questioning its effectiveness. However, it represents a concerted effort to provide lasting property tax relief for Coloradans while navigating complex fiscal challenges.

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