DENVER—Next year, Erin Meschke's property taxes in Boulder, Colorado, will increase by almost $14,000, she told state senators at a committee hearing during Colorado's special session.
"My property taxes went up from $12,500 last year to the projected amount of over $26,000 for next year," Ms. Meschke said.
"So, this kind of a cap is actually going to greatly help not only me but other people who are in similar positions. I heard that the average … increase was somewhere over 40 percent for people in Colorado. And I just feel like this is a simple solution, and we should pass it."
Kim Munson, the president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, agreed and urged committee members to vote for SB 6.
"As the president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, we recommend a 'yes' vote on this particular proposal, this bill because it does give tax relief to the hard-working people of Colorado," Ms. Munson said.
"We're very concerned with these massive tax increases that, ultimately, many Coloradans will be taxed out of their homes. And so, when we talk about affordability of housing in Colorado, one of the first things we need to do is make sure that we have property taxes under control."
Partisan PoliticsAfter Colorado voters rejected Proposition HH at the ballot box on Nov. 6 by a vote of 60 percent to 40 percent, Colorado's Democratic Gov. Jared Polis called for a special session to address skyrocketing property taxes. Prop HH was a measure to reduce property taxes by gutting Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR.
When asked about her failed bill after a committee hearing, Republican Colorado State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer told The Epoch Times, "It's what I expected."
"The revolutionized tax code would eliminate all forms of taxes other than a state sales tax. So that would eliminate income tax," Ms. Luck told The Epoch Times. "It would eliminate property taxes; it would eliminate your delivery fees and your gas taxes and every type of tax and fee that the state and its sub-parts—the local jurisdictions, counties, cities, you know, special districts, that they all collect—and create a statewide sales tax."
Property Taxes and TABORThanks to TABOR, the state constitutional amendment requiring voter approval for tax increases, Colorado voters have a certain measure of control over taxes. Additionally, TABOR says if taxes are collected in excess of what TABOR allows, it should be returned to Colorado taxpayers.
However, in years past, Democrats have used what should have been taxpayer refunds to fund other initiatives—in 2022, Democrats partially refunded money through an income tax reduction and an expansion of the senior and disabled veterans homestead property tax exemptions.
In the special session, Democrats want to take a similar approach, against fierce Republican opposition.
"[Colorado] provides matching funds to this program, we do not dollar for dollar-for-dollar matches but instead provide a % match and at a 25% match a single filler could receive an additional $125, families with one child an additional $998 and families with three children $1857.50," Mr. Mabrey wrote.
The special session must conclude before the Thanksgiving holiday, but lawmakers have expressed a desire to end as soon as Nov. 19.
On Nov. 18, the special session was briefly interrupted by pro-Hamas activists shouting from the gallery and urging lawmakers to impose a ceasefire.
Ms. Luck, who was in the chamber, told The Epoch Times that after the activists hd been escorted from the building, House Speaker Julie McCluskie, a Democrat, allowed members to leave the chamber during third readings (a break from procedure) to “speak to the protestors and hear them out.”