Lawmakers reconvene for a special session of the legislature on Friday, and Democrats and Republicans have released competing plans for property tax relief.
Gov. Jared Polis announced the special session after. While he didn't announce a backup for the ballot measure, Democrats — who control both chambers of the state legislature — plan to introduce bills that would provide the same amount of property tax relief for homeowners that HH did, but they won't backfill all the lost revenue to local governments and special districts.
They would use $200 million already set aside from the general fund to fully backfill schools, and whatever is left would go to local governments and special districts that saw property values grow by less than 13%.
The plan from Republican lawmakers calls for more significant property tax relief — nearly $1.4 billion — and uses money from the general fund and state reserve to backfill lost revenue to local governments, schools and special districts.
State Senate President Steve Fenberg, a Democrat, called the Republican plan irresponsible, "If and when we hit a downturn, we're going to need those reserves. And if we don't jave them because we've used it all for backfill, then we are essentially just creating more problems for ourselves as a state," the state congressman said during a virtual meeting.
State Rep. Rose Pugliese, a Republican, insists relief from skyrocketing property taxes is a good use of the reserve fund, and the Democrats' plan, she says, doesn't go far enough, "While we believe in having a healthy reserve, it's also really important that we give real and clean property tax relief to the people of Colorado. $1.37 billion will really help our struggling families all throughout Colorado, and now is not the time for the government to be sitting on that money," the state congresswoman told CBS Colorado.
Democrats also plan to introduce bills providing $30 million in rental assistance, $5 million for a summer school lunch program and nearly double the earned income tax credit, which could lower refunds under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights or TABOR. A separate bill would dole out those refunds equally rather than based on income.
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