DENVER — After Tuesday’s resounding defeat of statewide proposition HH, which aimed to provide tax relief to Colorado property owners amid skyrocketing home values, multiple high-ranking sources within the state capitol tell Denver7 Chief Investigative Reporter Tony Kovaleski an announcement on a special session to find other solutions could come within the next 24 hours.
Legislators across the political spectrum and including Governor Jared Polis are looking for ways to find immediate relief for property owners who are facing huge property tax increases, values that in some cases in Denver rose as much as 45%.
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Prop HH intended to allow the state to retain money that would otherwise go back to taxpayers, in the form of TABOR refunds.
Colorado Republicans have previously pushed for the governor to call a special session to address property tax relief and again called for the session on election night as it was apparent voters were rejecting Prop HH.
Colorado voters reject Proposition HH
Colorado House Republicans, in a release on Tuesday, took aim at Democrats calling for the special session before increases take effect in the new year.
“Voters clearly saw through the legislature’s tax scheme intended to take more of their hard-earned money by historically increasing taxes. Republicans continue to ask that we and the Governor correct this fixable property tax mess now,” said House Minority Leader Mike Lynch in the release. “Don’t make Coloradans wait any longer. Our caucus looks forward to coming to the table, rolling up our sleeves and finding real property tax relief for all Coloradans. The Governor has my phone number. I’ll be waiting for his call,” he said.
Republican lawmakers have presented three policy proposals they would like to introduce as bills, including increasing an exemption already available to seniors and veterans with disabilities.
The Minority Whip, Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, previously told Denver7 that would “be a 50% reduction, essentially, on homes valued up to $400,000."
Secondly, Republican lawmakers propose reducing the state’s property assessment rate to 6.7% from 6.77% as a “starting point” for the statewide assessment rate, arguing local governments could act to reduce the rate further.
That assessment rate reduction to 6.7% was the same reduction proposed in Prop HH.
What’s next for Colorado homeowners after Prop HH was rejected by voters?
Third, Republicans called for permanently reducing the state income tax from 4.4% to 4%, but that would not directly impact property taxes.
Colorado Senate Republicans on Wednesday morning also renewed their call for a special session but it is unclear what legislation would come from a special session in which Democrats hold a majority in both chambers.
“We want property tax relief, but we don't feel we have to give up our TABOR refund check to get it. And we know we don't have to,” Kirkmeyer told Denver7 reporter Brandon Richard on Wednesday. “And I think they were sending a message: Legislature, Governor, whether you're Republican or Democrat, y'all need to get together and give us that relief, that tax relief that you've been promising.”
Governor Polis’ office released a statement following the passing of Proposition II, but has not issued a statement regarding Prop HH.