DENVER, Colorado — Governor Jared Polis, Treasurer Dave Young, and state lawmakers announced a plan Monday morning to expedite the distribution of $400 rebate checks to income tax filers throughout the state by September. Married couples who filed jointly can expect an $800 rebate check under the plan.
The governor explained that the state treasury experienced a revenue surplus in 2021 thanks to a strong economic recovery and the recent downsizing of state office space.
"We're delivering on greater government efficiency, reducing the square footage of state office space by over a million square feet," Governor Polis said.
Under the Tax Payers Bill of Rights (TABOR) Amendment, the state must refund revenue that it collects that exceeds the growth limit calculated by the growth in population plus inflation.
State economists forecast in March that the 2021 revenue surplus would exceed $1.7 billion, the largest in state history.
There are three mechanisms in current state law for returning TABOR surpluses to taxpayers; reimbursing local governments for property tax exemptions, temporarily reducing the state income tax rate, and rebates on their 2022 state income tax filings using a six-tiered system.
Governor Polis believes that the six-tier mechanism is overly complex and is proposing a new rebate mechanism that would mail checks directly to taxpayers.
"People are paying more for rent, for gas, for groceries. And so, the state has this extra surplus, we want to get it back out to people rather than try to find loopholes to spend it on the preferred projects of different politicians, we want you to be able to spend it for your family," Polis said.
He also sees the surplus as an indication of the strength of Colorado's economy.
"We have a stronger economy than we've ever had, we regained more than all of the jobs that were lost during the pandemic," Polis said.
"There is a very healthy state surplus, and rather than just sit on that or delay that, it should go right back out to people so that they can deal better with some of the rising prices they face."