COLORADO — Election Day is November 2nd, and among the three statewide initiatives every voter in Colorado will be deciding on is Proposition 120.
The question asks voters about property tax assessment rates, but a new state law and a potential lawsuit will impact what happens if the question passes.
In simple terms, the question is asking voters to lower assessment rates. The text of the question asks if residential assessment rates should be reduced from 7.15 percent to 6.5 percent and if non-residential assessment rates should be reduced from 29 percent to 26.4 percent.
The potential financial impact on the state budget is estimated to be about one billion dollars. With the potential hit to the budget, state lawmakers introduced SB21-293 in June to make some changes to assessment rates.
Property taxes go to fund various resources such as fire departments, schools, and transportation.
"These local communities and these local districts, could not afford that kind of a cut, they can't afford the cut that's going to happen if 120 passes, let alone if we hadn't done Senate Bill 293 to cushion that fall," House majority leader and co-sponsor of the bill Daneya Esgar (Pueblo- D) said.
Among the changes, lawmakers created various categories beyond residential and non-residential assessment rates. Now, there are various subcategories assessment rates belong to.
The law change makes it so the assessment rate decreases would now only apply to multi-family properties such as apartments, duplexes, and triplexes, and lodging properties such as hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts.
Lawmakers also lowered assessment rates for single-family homes to 6.95 percent for the next two years, and if the ballot initiative fails it lowers assessment rates to 6.8 percent.
Agriculture and renewable energy properties would have a reduced rate to 26.4 percent if the initiative fails.
Under the new law, the financial impact is expected to be about $96 million, over the course of two years.
Organizers of the Proposition 120 say they will file a lawsuit if the question passes to have the assessment rates apply to all residential and non-residential properties.
"We think that legally the ballot language will win out, but we have to pass it to have that talk with the courts and see what they say," Michael Fields, Executive Director of Colorado Rising State Action said.
For a breakdown from the state's blue book click here: Colorado 2021 Election Blue Book