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New Bills Pour out of Colorado Special Legislative Session

Legislatures fix things — sort of. The special legislative session called by Governor Jared Polis to dig the state out of the crisis left in the wake of the defeat of Proposition HH appears to have born fruit — and a lot of it. Which satisfies the state’s Democratic majority leadership, and has Republicans who are in the minority, grumbling that Democrats haven’t listened to any ideas they have had.

“I’m proud to provide immediate property tax relief for all Coloradans and help those who need it the most. Thanks to these actions, more hardworking people can stay in the communities they love or grew up in,” said Governor Polis. “I appreciate the legislature’s thoughtful work to save people money and their ability to pass laws during this urgent special session before Thanksgiving to provide property tax relief.”

No less than four bills were approved and sent to the Governor’s desk for signature:

SB23B-001 provides $434 million in property tax relief for the 2023 tax year while protecting funding for essential local services like schools, fire districts, and ambulance and health districts. The bill increases the property value exemption for multifamily and single-family residential properties from $15,000 to $55,000, and decreases the residential assessment rate from 6.765 percent to 6.7 percent for the 2023 tax year.

HB23B-1008  Appropriates funds from the Department of the Treasury to support the administration of the property tax deferral program during the 2023-24 state fiscal year.  For the 2023-24 state fiscal year, the bill appropriates $87,910 to the Department of the Treasury to support the administration of property tax deferrals for the 2023 property tax year as part of the property tax deferral program.

This in effect “kicks the can down the road,” not solving the property tax situation, simply buying time for the state to come up with a solution after the 1982 Gallagher Amendment (which systemically kept increases in Colorado property taxes artificially low) expired.

SB23B-003 creates a flat TABOR refund mechanism to provide an equal refund of $800 for all taxpayers ($1,600 for married couples) putting more money back into the pockets of Coloradans. It increases TABOR refunds by about $500 for the majority of working families by creating a new temporary refund mechanism – identical to what Democrats provided last year – that replaces the sales tax refund mechanism for FY 22-23.

Every Colorado taxpayer will receive an identical refund payment, making our tax code more equitable and providing enhanced support for working families.

HB23B-1002 establishing an increase in the state’s 2023 Earned Income Tax Credit for income tax year 2023.

The bill creates a one-time TABOR refund mechanism for excess state revenues for the 2022-23 state fiscal year that are required to be refunded in the 2023-24 state fiscal year.

The TABOR refund mechanism allows for an increase in the earned income tax credit that a resident individual, including a resident individual who does not have a social security number valid for employment. Each person may claim on the resident individual’s state income tax return from 25 percent to 50 percent of the federal credit claimed on the resident individual’s federal income tax return or the federal credit.

Featured image: The Colorado Capitol Rotunda dome.