It is unfortunate that the governor and legislative Democrats failed to fully engage in any conversations about the potential solutions to the property tax issue facing hard-working Colorado families who are struggling to make ends meet. The ballot measure, Proposition HH, that Coloradans are being asked to vote on in November 2023 was rushed, with very limited discussion of its true impacts.
The state Legislature could have simply lowered the state assessment rate, and you could be paying less than you did last year in property taxes. The governor and the Democrats chose not to do that. Instead, they gave you Proposition HH, which will lower your assessment rates by .095%. Yes, take that in. .095%. Not even close to enough for most Colorado families to buy school supplies. (According to the National Retail Federation, the average to be spent on school supplies including clothes, is $890.07 per child.)
In return for their dishonest scheme, it is estimated in a study by the Common Sense Institute that taxpayers will give up over $5,000 of their Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) refunds over the next 10 years alone. Remember the check you received in the mail last year, right before the election, signed by the governor? Yes, that check. Gone. Forever. With just one vote.
The legislature could have given you property tax relief without you forfeiting your TABOR refund – just as we have been doing for the past two years. Instead, with nearly $5 billion just sitting there in state coffers, above what’s required by law, the legislature and the governor want to take your TABOR refund check and continue their spending spree.
You will hear that Proposition HH will help lower rent for renters. Not true – mostly because property taxes are still increasing substantially and any increase in property taxes will likely be passed on to renters. And by the way, there is no correlation between lower property taxes and lower rent. Don’t be fooled. Don’t give up your TABOR refund check. Renters are the biggest losers here.
You will hear that Proposition HH will help seniors. Again, property taxes are still increasing. Yes, for seniors too. When we hear about the housing crisis, there is much discussion around the senior property tax exemption and making it portable so seniors can downsize to reduce their property taxes. Republicans had bills to do just that. However, not surprisingly, those bills never made it to the floor for discussion. Our Colorado seniors are on fixed incomes and are suffering under the weight of increased costs and inflation. The Democrats in the state Legislature could have made their lives easier, but they chose not to do so. Instead, they gave them the fallacies of Proposition HH supposedly lowering property taxes for seniors. Our seniors deserve better. We can and should do better.
If you want to learn more about how Proposition HH will affect you, please visit: VoteNoOnHH.com and do the math for yourself.
We insist our colleagues in the state Legislature get back to work on a long-term, sustainable solution to real property tax relief. People throughout Colorado deserve true property tax reform, not a scam to steal their TABOR refunds. Keep your check — please Vote No on Proposition HH.
Barbara Kirkmeyer, a Republican from Brighton, represents District 23 in the Colorado Senate and serves on the Joint Budget Committee. Rose Pugliese, a Republican from Colorado Springs, represents District 14 in the Colorado House, where she serves as assistant minority leader.