polis

Gov. Jared Polis speaks during a bill signing ceremony outside of the Capitol building in Denver, Colo. on Monday, May 16, 2022. 

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday signed a host of bills into law that supporters say will save Coloradans money, including a measure to provide property tax relief in 2023 and 2024.

The largest cost-saving measure of the bunch, Senate Bill 238, is expected to offer $700 million in property tax relief by reducing the taxable value of business properties by $30,000, decreasing the taxable value of homes by $15,000 and changing assessment rates from 29% to 27.9% for commercial properties and from 6.95% to 6.765% for residential properties.

“Every Coloradan will be able to hold onto a little more green,” Polis said during the bill signing ceremony on Monday. “It’s great progress for the business community, for homeowners to fight rising costs.”

The state estimates the bill will provide homeowners $274 in average property tax refund based on a home value of $500,000, with more for higher-valued properties. For commercial properties, the savings will be around $1,000 by providing the first reduction in commercial assessment rates in 40 years.

The state Senate and House approved the bipartisan-sponsored bill nearly unanimously, with only two legislators voting against it. Republicans and Democrats alike said the measure would help residents at a time of soaring inflation and rising cost of living. 

“This is a half-a-billion-dollar tax decrease. Who’s not excited about that?” said Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, the bill's co-sponsor. “When they brought this forward to me, I had no choice but to sign on. ... Anything that we can do to provide relief on these taxes, I’m all on board.”

During the signing ceremony, Polis also gave final approval to House Bill 1351, which will delay a gas fee and reduce a vehicle registration fee, saving the average Coloradan just under $13 by the end of 2023, and House Bill 1416, to adjust administrative procedures for property tax assessment appeals.

Polis said these bills deliver on the promise he made in his January State of the State address to save Coloradans money and make the state more affordable to live in. However, critics have said Democrats are taking credit for addressing affordability issues caused by their own policies, accusing the party of trying to appease voters for the upcoming election.

For HB 1351 in particular, the $0.02 per gallon fee the bill is delaying was created by SB21-260 — a Democrat-backed, $5.4 billion, 10-year plan to build out roads and bridges, create electric vehicle charging stations, boost mass transit and mitigate air pollution.

“I voted against the fees in the first place, I don’t think they should be here,” said Sen. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, while voting against HB-1351 in May. “When you realize you’re going in the wrong direction, the right thing to do is to turn around. Instead of turning around, this bill says, ‘Let’s pause.’”

Polis is scheduled to sign six more bills by the end of the day: Senate Bill 6 increases the sales tax revenue a retailer may retain; Senate Bill 146 invests $25 million into the Middle Income Housing Access Program; House Bill 1230 extends the Employment Support and Job Retention Program; House Bill 1004 delays increasing driver's license fees; Senate Bill 124 provides federal income tax relief; and, House Bill 1001 reduces business filing fees.

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