Colorado Ballot Initiative Would Dramatically Limit Property Taxes

While many states have dramatic measures before voters this election day, Colorado’s Amendment 60 may be the most dramatic proposal in its effect on property taxes. The summary appearing on the ballot before voters will read as follows:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning government charges on property, and, in connection therewith, allowing petitions in all districts for elections to lower property taxes; specifying requirements for property tax elections; requiring enterprises and authorities to pay property taxes but offsetting the revenues with lower tax rates; prohibiting enterprises and unelected boards from levying fees or taxes on property; setting expiration dates for certain tax rate and revenue increases; requiring school districts to reduce property tax rates and replacing the revenue with state aid; and eliminating property taxes that exceed the dollar amount included in an approved ballot question, that exceed state property tax laws, policies, and limits existing in 1992 that have been violated, changed, or weakened without state voter approval, or that were not approved by voters without certain ballot language?

The Colorado Municipal League has joined many in raising concerns about the Amendment’s effects, citing three related ballot measures as “the bad three.”

These three ballot questions place cities and towns at a financial crossroads. Proposition 101, Amendment 60, and Amendment 61 combine to slash municipal tax and fee revenue and impose restraints that will make financing of public facilities difficult and expensive.

Colorado is already home to one of the firmest “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” laws, also passed by citizen initiative, and many of the provisions of the currently proposed amendments follow on those provisions and their implementation.

Recent polling suggests the three related tax-limiting proposals trail among likely voters, but November 2 will bring the final results for this and many more ballot initiatives across many states.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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