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Potential high property taxes have Coloradans pushing for lawmakers to act

Denver metro assessors announced large property value increases last week
Potential high property taxes have Coloradans pushing for lawmakers to act
Posted at 3:48 PM, May 01, 2023

DENVER — An announcement from a group of county assessors in the Denver metro area about unprecedented increases in property values last week applied pressure on the Colorado legislature to act.

Last week, lawmakers told Denver7 they are expecting a bill to come from the governor's office to help ease the property tax burden. Details are still slim, but those who know the issue well said it may adjust assessment values to lower taxes.

“Now that we have the numbers, it's a question of how do we give property tax relief to Coloradans, while at the same time making sure that the funding that goes to communities is preserved so that we can fund our schools?" said Scott Wasserman, the president of The Bell Policy Center. “Property taxes are a local tax. They go to schools, they go to fire districts, they go to public safety districts, water districts, you name it.”

The Bell Policy Center is an economic research and advocacy organization that is often described as left-leaning. Wasserman said the group also lobbies for certain issues.

“We try to be as objective as possible on the data and then tell you when we're giving you analysis," said Wasserman. “The legislature and the governor at this point, they really need to come up with a way to buy down those property tax values in a way that we can gradually increase local revenue, but not too fast.”

Wasserman said this is an issue that has been building in the state for years, and that repealing the Gallagher Amendment in 2020 allowed for property taxes to increase with residential home values.

“It's not easy to solve this. Because, you know, it's one thing to give a big tax cut, it's another thing to make sure that our schools and communities are well-funded," said Wasserman. "What the legislature has got to do is something temporary, something that's effective, and it's got to be something that's targeted and backfilled with enough revenue to make sure that our local communities have the money that they need.”

The legislative session ends on May 8, so lawmakers have a week to pass a bill aimed at property tax relief.