DENVER — Colorado Governor Jared Polis is calling for a special legislative session to address the concerns of homeowners facing down skyrocketing property tax increases amid the defeat of statewide proposition HH during Tuesday’s election.
He made the announcement on social media saying he would address the state live at 10:15 a.m.
You can watch that livestream in the player below.
Prop HH aimed to allow the state to retain money that would otherwise go back to taxpayers, known as TABOR refunds.
Legislators across the political spectrum and including Governor Jared Polis have been looking for ways to find tax relief for property owners who have seen home values rise over the last few years.
Even before Prop HH was soundly defeated by voters, Colorado Republicans called for the governor to call the special session laying out three potential bills.
One proposal aimed at seniors in Colorado would double the current homestead exemption to $200,000, according to Joshua Bly, Communications Director for Colorado Senate Republicans.
Republicans also propose lowering all assessment rates for residential and nonresidential properties including dropping residential property assessment rates from 7.15% to 6.7% and the first $50,000 in value would be exempted, Bly said.
Nonresidential property assessment rates would decrease from 29% to 27.9%.
While not directly tied to property tax relief, Colorado Republicans would also propose lowering the overall state income tax to 4% from 4.4%.
“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.”
On Tuesday night, Polis issued the following statement: “The Governor thanks everyone who voted in this year’s election. While he is disappointed voters didn’t pass a long-term property tax cut, he is currently considering next steps.”
GOP to Governor Polis after Proposition HH defeat, 'call us'
Republican state lawmakers are urging Governor Jared Polis to call a special session to avert potentially painful property tax hikes next year following the defeat of Proposition HH.
On Thursday morning Governor Polis did just that. Calling for a special session to convene on November 17 at 9 a.m. to discuss property tax relief using $200 million already side, plus other options. Additionally, the Governor wants the General Assembly to address funding for a program to provide meals to school children of low-income families.
Senator Larry Liston of Colorado Springs has tried three times in the past two years to bring property tax relief for senior citizens and disabled veterans living on fixed incomes. He said his bills were defeated each time because of partisan politics.
His legislation sought to expand what's known as the Homestead Exemption. Colorado seniors can currently deduct up to $200,000 of value from their property tax assessments. Liston wants to increase that amount because of rising home values. His bills also would have expanded the law to include disabled veterans and made the exemption portable. Current law requires seniors to live in the same home for a decade to qualify.
"There were seniors that would be willing to move into a smaller home to allow younger families that were looking. So, it was a win-win situation."
The portability language was included in Proposition HH, although the home value deduction was unchanged. Liston said the bill that referred HH to the ballot lacked Republican support because of the way his Democratic colleagues rushed the legislation through.
Liston was not surprised to see Proposition HH fail. However, he believes the margin of defeat should send a strong message to the Governor and Democratic lawmakers that voters do not want to sacrifice TABOR refunds to address the problem.
He believes a 3-day special session would provide enough time to pass straightforward property tax relief before new appraisals take effect next year.
"We have a window of opportunity. We should seize it, and we should do it. We're prepared to do it," Liston said. "Our encouragement to the Governor is to call us, we'll be there on day one."
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