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Colorado lawmakers punt property tax dilemma to summer

Posted: 1:27 PM, May 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-04 08:21:29-04

DENVER (AP) — Colorado lawmakers are punting one of the state's most pressing financial dilemmas to the summer.

If nothing's done, a provision of the state constitution will trigger statewide property tax cuts in 2019.

That would provide relief for Front Range homeowners whose property values are exploding. But it would also squeeze public services in rural areas where home values are stagnant or in decline.

The tax cut is the result of a 1982 law known as the Gallagher Amendment.

The amendment limits the amount of money homeowners contribute to 45 percent of the state’s overall property taxes.

If the cuts go through, more of the burden could fall on commercial properties.

Negotiations on a last-minute proposal to delay a projected 15 percent tax cut fell apart the last week of April. If those cuts are allowed to go through, the current 7.2 percent property tax would drop to about 6.11 percent.

Part of the reason lawmakers are having a tough time changing the rules is due to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, also known as TABOR. It prevents local districts from adjusting tax rates through mill levies without asking the taxpayers first. One idea to fix the property tax dilemma is to amend the constitution so that the Gallagher Amendment wouldn’t be subject to TABOR rules.

A bipartisan group of 42 lawmakers instead received approval to study this property tax issue in an interim committee after this year's legislative session.

The session ends May 9.