Colorado Governor Jared Polis announces a special legislative session in the wake of Prop HH failing during a press conference at the Governor’s mansion on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via AP)

DENVER | Colorado Gov. Jared Polis hoisted a red baseball bat and smashed emergency glass Thursday in a giddy demonstration for a very real crisis — Colorado homeowners are looking down the barrel of a potential 40% jump in property tax bills.

After a ballot measure meant to quell soaring property taxes failed in Tuesday’s election, Polis turned to the emergency option of calling a special legislative session to begin Nov. 17 with the goal of providing homeowners relief before the year is out and many are stuck with unaffordable property tax bills.

Prop HH was a ballot measure intended to reduce property taxes for homeowners and business owners. 60% of Colorado voters voted against the proposition while 40% voted for it. 

“I am calling this session to urge the legislature to bridge partisan divides and put people over politics to provide immediate property tax relief to Coloradans facing extreme spikes from their 2023 property bills,” Polis said in a statement released Thursday.

“The cost of inaction is too high,” Polis said earlier at the press conference, the red bat lying on the floor behind him.

Senate President Steve Fenberg said that they will be “laser-focused on providing short-term relief to those who are most vulnerable to rising cost of living…while protecting our schools and fire districts.”

Opponents of the measure weren’t shy about their glee in the failure of the proposition and Polis relenting on calling for a special session, which they asked for earlier in the year.

While Michael Fields, president of the conservative group Advance Colorado, which opposed the measure, was glad the governor called the special session, he said he remains wary of what Colorado’s majority Democratic legislature will accomplish.

Other conservatives dog-piled on in social media and for the press.

“While it’s disappointing that it took the overwhelming defeat of Prop. HH to get their attention, it’s certainly my hope that the governor and Democrats will now agree to common sense reforms to Colorado’s property tax mess and not just a simple band-aid to a complex problem,” House Minority Leader Mike Lynch said in statement from the Colorado House Republicans. “Instead of addressing the concerns of homeowners a year ago we now have only days to correct a mess that was avoidable.”

The special session is slated to begin  Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. 

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  1. What kept getting glossed over or ignored was the (simple) mathematical reality that however mils were dispersed, if property values shot up X%, then the aggregate tax dollars would increase X%. Every entity funded by property taxes gets X% more revenue. HH aimed to gut TABOR to make up a shortfall that didn’t exist. Are there underfunded public needs in our state? Absolutely. Are they underfunded by 40% or greater? No; that’s absurd. Are these (soaring) property values permanent? Obviously we know they’re not; it’s a bubble that will burst. And to all the entities collecting revenue from this bubble, it is poor fiscal management to adjust budgets (upward) for an artificial bump in property values. the current answer, the one this emergency session needs to settle on, is to lock property taxes in at 2021 property assessments (which too were unreasonably soaring beyond 2019 assessments)… and as it is highly likely property values will fall over the next decade… locking property taxes for ten years at 2021 property assessments may very well even things out. Or in simpler terms, only issue property assessments every ten years (even census years would work) versus every two… with the 2023 assessments thrown out and the next one issued in 2030.

    One other good thing that was bandied with HH… allow seniors to downsize (lift the 10 year requirement for primary residence).

  2. Home prices shot up, so should Taxes, however the problem has never been taxes, but the way counties calculate them. I used to argue and win because they would compare my home to homes with 5 bedrooms and pools. The way they calculate favors the rich and harms the middle class. Since home values can vary largely in even small areas same developer, it calculates an average for your home and if you are the highest priced home you pay less taxes, if you are the lowest priced home you pay more taxes. The county employees are lazy and don’t want to actually compare apples to apples. Home values should be based first on several real estate internet valuation sites pre chosen and exact homes RECENT sales (1 year), then an agreed percentage reduction is taken and then the tax calculation (any proper appraisal within a year must override)…. stop slamming the middle class and clean up the valuations.

    1. You conveniently ignore that the Gallagher, Amendment capped taxes and would have helped alleviate this exact problem that the Democrats are being tasked with fixing.

  3. Remember this? “Colorado Proposition 112, Minimum Distance Requirements for New Oil, Gas, and Fracking Projects Initiative (2018)”
    Recall that when voters rejected this, the Colorado legislature, and Governor Polis, created legislation that did exactly what voters rejected. The risk in this special session is that our “we know what’s best” law makers will likely do the same end-around and sacrifice TABOR refunds against our wills. Instead of making real legislation that respects the vote of the people, these clowns on Cap Hill will ignore us and turn the screws.

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