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Polis signs tax bills into law after special session wraps

© iStock - SeanXu
Derek Draplin

(The Center Square) – After a special legislative session that met for four days, Governor Jared Polis signed a set of bills passed by Democrats that they say will bring taxpayers some relief.

The governor Monday signed four bills, including ones that lowers the residential and commercial assessment rates, one doubling the earned income tax credit, one that allocates more funding for the property tax deferral program, and a bill to level out Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refunds. 

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PROMO Politician - Colorado Governor Jared Polis

“I’m proud to provide immediate property tax relief for all Coloradans and help those who need it the most,” Polis said in a written statement. “Thanks to these actions, more hardworking people can stay in the communities they love or grew up in. 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.”

Polis convened for the special session, which began last Friday, after Colorado voters rejected Proposition HH. The measure, referred to the ballot last session by Democrats, would have lowered the state’s residential property tax assessment rate to 6.7 percent and used TABOR funds to backfill for lost revenue.

Minority Republicans, who’s proposals were all rejected during the special session, said what passed “failed to provide honest property tax relief” and moved forward with taking TABOR refunds despite voters opposing Prop HH.

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“Earlier this month, 60 percent of voters made it crystal they do not want to pay for tiny tax property tax relief with their TABOR refunds,” Senate Minority Leader Lundeen, R-Monument, said. “Our solution would have provided substantial relief to Coloradans and flexibility to local governments, all while protecting TABOR. The Democrat legislation sent to the Governor puts government demands over the people’s interests and needs.”

The primary bill signed into law by the governor, Senate Bill 23B-001, mirrors Prop HH in lowering Colorado’s residential assessment rate from 6.765 percent to 6.7 percent. It also expands the property value exemption from $15,000 to $55,000, and will allocate $200 million from the general fund to backfill for education and local governments.

“We have an obligation as the majority party to govern responsibly, which means making tough decisions to solve problems and deliver solutions responsive to the moment that we’re living in,” said Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “The property tax relief that we passed delivers urgent, responsible relief that gives local governments time to implement the tax cuts by their deadlines.”

Polis also signed into law SB23B-003, making fiscal year 2022-23 TABOR refunds all the same amount, rather than a tiered sales tax refund, and HB23B-1002, which uses $182.5 million from the TABOR surplus for fiscal 2022-23 to expand Colorado’s EITC from 25 percent to 50 percent of the federal EITC.