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Polis announces efforts to cut property taxes

The governor's office said the proposed relief package would help reduce property taxes for homeowners by an average of $274 in 2023 on a $500,000 home.

DENVER — A late bill in the state legislature would temporarily reduce property taxes in Colorado.

Supporters of the property tax relief bill hope it would keep competing property tax ballot issues from appearing on the November ballot.

"I'm confident that this property tax cut will relieve some of that pressure," said Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Only Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO JJ Ament referenced a possible ballot issue at Monday's news conference to reveal the bill that would save money for both residential and nonresidential property owners.

"Thank you to the business community, our friends at Colorado Concern, others who have helped elevate this issue," said Ament.

Colorado Concern is a pro-business group that has progressed with a ballot issue that would cap property tax increases and mean $1.3 billion fewer dollars collected by local governments.

This bill at the legislature, announced by Polis, would backfill some of the money local governments would miss out on from a property tax cut.

According to Polis, a residential property owner with a home valued at $500,000 would save $274 on 2023 property taxes. A nonresidential property owner would save $1,200 for the same $500,000 property value.

This bill would temporarily lower assessment rates for residential and nonresidential properties. The assessment rate is part of the calculation that determines a property's taxable value.

According to State Sen. Chris Hansen (D-Denver), nonresidential property taxable values will also be discounted $30,000 and residential property taxable values will also be discounted $10,000.

Nonresidential property owners have paid the same assessment rate since 1982.

"This proposal is $700 million of property tax relief over two years," said Polis.

Some of the savings includes Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) money that would be refunded to residents in 2024. At the news conference, 9NEWS asked how much of the money would be refunded at some point over the next two years even without this bill.

"Uh, let's see," Polis said as he turned to lawmakers standing behind him. "We're doing a little math for you."

After some quick math, they calculated about 20% of the savings, or about $50, is already money we should expect one way or another.

Local governments rely on property tax revenue to fund cities, counties, schools, parks, fire, water, etc.

This bill would backfill $400 million to local governments to make up for the missing property tax revenue. That means local governments would miss out on $300 million that would not be made up.

And of the $400 million local governments would receive from the state, $200 million of that is from the TABOR refunds residents would get by 2024.

"It's frankly, kind of disingenuous, because it's taking dollars that would have already been given to taxpayers in the form of a TABOR refund check or through a senior property tax exemption and repurposes into this property tax," said Larson. "I'm happy that we're giving money back to the taxpayers, but to call it a $700 million relief package is disingenuous because it's really a $500 million relief package, and then repackaging a refund that they were already going to get, moving it up a little bit so they see the impact a little bit sooner, and claiming credit for it."

Colorado Concern's CEO Mike Kopp did not say if the group would stop pursuing a ballot issue based on this legislation.

"We commend the governor and legislators who announced some great steps in the right direction today regarding property tax assessment reforms and reductions in residential and business tax bills. While we are eager to get into the details of the proposals, it's clear that a tremendous stride was taken today," said Kopp.

Watch the full news conference in the video player below: 

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