Forbes: Politicians Target Property Taxes As Tool To Squeeze More Money From Taxpayers Amid Recession

Forbes: Politicians Target Property Taxes As Tool To Squeeze More Money From Taxpayers Amid Recession

June 17, 2020

Colorado lawmakers pushed through to the ballot a measure to repeal the Gallagher Amendment of the Colorado Constitution. While repealing this measure won’t necessarily provide relief for small businesses, it will ensure that Coloradans property taxes will go up almost immediately.

Coloradans will vote in November on whether or not to repeal Gallagher.

Here’s more from Forbes:

Whereas Prop. 13 is the target in California, in Colorado it’s the Gallagher Amendment. The Gallagher Amendment, named after the state senator who drafted it, was approved by Colorado votes in 1982. By stipulating the ratio of tax revenue that can be raised from residential versus non-residential properties, the Gallagher Amendment has helped bring down residential property tax burdens over time. 

Before adjourning session this week, Colorado legislators referred a measure to the ballot this November that would repeal the Gallagher Amendment if approved by Colorado voters. In the middle of a recession, with unemployment at record highs, it should be a struggle to convince voters that their property tax bills should go up by as much as half a billion annually. 

“I think what it comes down to is most Coloradans have seen their property taxes go up over the years, and their taxes will be higher without Gallagher than they would be with it,” said Michael Fields, executive director of the Colorado Rising State Action. “So I think that’s going to be an uphill battle.”

As politicians seek to avoid raising income taxes, sales taxes, and other politically unpopular levies in the middle of a recession, expect more government officials to look to property taxes as a way to shore up government coffers this year and beyond. Public feedback on this approach will come quick, as this November will demonstrate what voters think of the nation’s most longstanding property tax limitation measures, along with the politicians who wish to increase tax collections by targeting business and home owners with higher property tax bills.

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