Amendment 74 would change the state Constitution to allow property owners to be compensated by taxpayers if their land is “taken, or damaged, or reduced in fair market value by government law or regulation.”
A “yes” vote supports compensation for property owners whose property values were decreased by state laws or regulations. A “no” vote opposes compensation for property owners whose property values were decreased by state laws or regulations.
Amendment 74 shares connections with Amendment 112, which would create 2,500-foot setbacks for new oil and gas development in Colorado. If Amendment 112 passes, owners of mineral rights could see their property values decline if oil and gas production becomes prohibited on their land.
Amendment 74 was known as Initiative 108 during the initiative process. Initiative 108 gathered enough valid signatures to be referred to the ballot.
Amendment 74 is supported by the Colorado Farm Bureau. Property owners whose property values could be affected by Amendment 112’s setback requirement are predominantly rural.
Amendment 74 is opposed by several municipalities and conservation groups. They contend that the measure would create a flood of lawsuits filed by property owners.
The Colorado Legislative Council Staff prepared an initial fiscal impact statement for Amendment 74 while it was in the initiative phase and was called Initiative 108.
The LCS says ”this measure will result in additional court cases, and therefore additional fee revenue,” but it is impossible to estimate how much additional revenue Amendment 74 would generate because the number of additional court cases is unknown.
The LCS fiscal impact statement says the increase in state expenditures “could be significant for all branches of state government.”
Each time a case makes it to state court, and the court decides that a law or regulation has reduced the fair market value of a property, then the state must provide just compensation under Amendment 74.
State court caseloads are expected to increase under Amendment 74, according to the LCS, increasing expenditures in the Judicial Branch.
The Legislative Council Staff fiscal impact statement says only a fraction of state property owners would benefit from Amendment 74, while burdening state and local governments.
“The measure will increase the cost of future laws, regulations or regulatory conditions. Public compensation for lost market value will allow certain property owners to maintain a consistent economic position despite changing regulatory conditions that might have reduced the productive value and the economic gains from their property. Governments will be required to cut spending on government programs and / or increase revenue from taxation or fees.”
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