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Property tax relief bill is imminent at Colorado Capitol as legislative session winds down

Property tax relief bill is imminent at Colorado's capitol as legislative session winds down
Property tax relief bill is imminent at Colorado's capitol as legislative session winds down 02:41

With just five days left in the legislative session, property tax relief is still up in the air. A bill drafted two weeks ago has been scrapped, and lawmakers are scrambling to put a new relief package together.

CBS News Colorado Political Reporter Shaun Boyd has learned a deal is imminent, and if it holds, relief will be significant. 

"I think we're getting pretty close. I'm pretty optimistic," says Sen. Chris Hansen, the lead negotiator on property tax relief.

He says it's been six weeks of nonstop shuttle diplomacy.

"We're talking to dozens and dozens of groups trying to make sure folks can get comfortable with the direction that we're headed with the final package," he said. 

That package he says will include relief for both residential and non-residential taxpayers.

"I think we've got a package now that really touches on all the areas which is making sure we don't have spikes in the future, making sure we have direct relief for homeowners and making sure we have relief for small business and commercial," he said. 

In addition to lowering the taxable value of homes, the bill being negotiated would cut the state assessment rate, and cap how much revenue local governments can collect.

"We are negotiating hard on the cap and I think there's a version of it that can work for most households they're going to see something greater than 10% relief," he said. 

The tax cuts, he says, are the easy part.

"It's much harder to figure out how to pay for it," he said. 

While school funding will be protected, Hansen says, there will be limited backfill for local governments and special districts. 

"Because we don't have general fund resources and so we may need to dip into reserves as a result. This state just can't do this long-term and so we need to give the local the tools they need, they flexibility they need and get the state out of the business of changing local assessment rates and I think if we can adopt this package, that to me is one of the best parts of the package," he said. 

He believes he will have buy-in for the bill from local governments and Republicans, which is key since two conservative groups are hoping to pass ballot initiatives that would make much deeper and, Hansen says, damaging cuts.

The session ends next week on Wednesday.

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