Watch CBS News

Colorado lawmakers say property tax bill will deliver significant savings

Colorado lawmakers say property tax bill will deliver significant savings
Colorado lawmakers say property tax bill will deliver significant savings 03:11

With less than three days left in the legislative session, leading Republicans and Democrats have reached a deal on a property tax bill. While your tax bill will still increase, the bill will soften the blow.

It continues the temporary reduction for 2023 for another year and then sets new rates and exemptions that bill sponsors say are permanent starting in January 2026.

"We're talking about a huge property tax cut for property owners without crippling our state budget," says Republican state Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer.

She and Democratic state Sen. Chris Hansen were among those involved in marathon negotiations on the bill.

"We are going to make sure our schools are funded. We are going to make sure we have a sustainable path forward," he said.

Under the bill, the commercial tax rate would drop to 25% over three years.

There would be two residential rates. For schools -- where about 40% of property taxes are paid -- it would increase to 7.15%. For other local governments, it would be 6.95%.

Homeowners could also deduct 10% up to $70,000 of their home's value from taxation.

The bill also caps increases in property tax revenue at 5.5%, but schools, home-rule cities and any debt by special districts are exempt. 

Michael Fields with the conservative group Advance Colorado says that's not a real cap: "This is something where you're kind of picking winners and losers within the cap and then not giving people property tax relief because all these things are exempt from it."

Advance Colorado and the business group Colorado Concern are pushing ballot measures that would cut the tax rate to 5.7% and cap revenue increases at 4%. Fields says that's more than the average wage increase. The ballot measures require the state to backfill any lost revenue to schools, which would impact the state budget.

"That's what they're upset about," says Fields. "That they have to, under Amendment 23, backfill school districts and they don't want to do it."

Lawmakers say the bill will provide more than $1 billion a year in tax relief. Fields notes that that still leaves a $2 billion increase.

The state will not backfill lost revenue for the vast majority of local governments and special districts. Fire Districts, which are primarily funded by property taxes, are worried. They say the cost of equipment and engines has increased by hundreds of thousands of dollars.   

Gov. Jared Polis praised the bill sponsors: "This agreement can't please everybody in the world but the fact that you have such strong agreement between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, that this addresses the underlying issue."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.