Repeal of the Gallagher Amendment, Amendment B on the Nov. 3 ballot, will cause a huge property tax increase for the homeowners and renters of Colorado. According to the Colorado property tax administrator, property taxes for homeowners next year will go up $203 million if Gallagher is repealed. Over the next five years the increase will total more than $1.02 billion.
Also read: POINT | Gallagher gouges Colorado businesses
Your legislators have proposed this huge property tax increase. They are hoping with all the distractions facing us that you will not find out the truth. They talk about rates — not the amount of additional money that repeal will actually cost us individual homeowners and renters.
The Gallagher Amendment, passed in 1982, has saved Colorado's residential property owners and renters $35 billion since passage. They want it repealed so that those savings end and they have additional monies to spend.
Perhaps the "unkindest cut of all," to borrow a line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, is the ballot title itself, which starts: "Without increasing property tax rates..." By mentioning rates rather than taxes paid, the legislators hide the true intent of Amendment B's repeal of the Gallagher Amendment. That's the big lie about Amendment B's repeal of Gallagher.
Even with Gallagher, Colorado's property taxes are already regressive. According to a national report, "Who pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems of all 50 States," Colorado families that earn less than $20,000 per year pay 2.4% of their income in property taxes, while those in the top 1% of all earners pay only 1.4%. Currently, low-income families pay a higher percentage in property taxes than do the top 1% of high-income Coloradans.
Repeal of Gallagher will give large corporations in Colorado millions of dollars in tax decreases. Does Amazon need another tax break? Amazon Corporation did not pay a single dime in federal income taxes last year and now the state of Colorado wants you to vote them another tax break.
Does that make you as mad as it makes me?
The Gallagher Amendment is the only major tax break homeowners and renters have. Don’t let corporate greed steal more money from us homeowners and renters.
This is just a plain dumb time to add more taxes onto Colorado homeowners and renters. With our economy in distress, 32% of citizens nationally behind in their mortgages, 12% of our state's fellow residents unable to pay their rents, and almost 10% of Coloradans unemployed — this is not the time to increase property taxes.
Furthermore, raising property taxes on all rental units will cripple affordable housing efforts, already stunted and faltering.
If you vote "no" on "B," you are not standing alone. The Aurora Sentinel recommends a "no" vote on Amendment B, as do 21 Republican legislators and all the Democratic sponsors of the original Gallagher Amendment. And Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, former Colorado Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives is recommending a no vote on Amendment B. This is a bipartisan effort to keep our property taxes from increasing. Tell your friends and neighbors.
I told the legislators, just be honest with the voters. Tell them you need more tax dollars and here is about how much we need. Being honest and open and fully transparent with the voters of Colorado is the best scenario.
Coloradans have faced down two horrendous World Wars, Vietnam, Korea, searing droughts, destructive forest fires, fierce recessions, and now a world-wide pandemic. These brave citizens will be able to face up to a possible property tax increase request, if they believe they can afford it. Don’t try to hide it from them.
Vote "no" on Amendment B. Keep the Gallagher Amendment in the Constitution and keep our property taxes from increasing by over $203 million next year.
Dennis Gallagher, then a Colorado state senator, sponsored the Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado Constitution as a legislative referendum in 1982.