Colorado’s Latest Property Tax Plan—Initiative 50—would cap annual property taxes whenever revenues are expected to grow faster than 4%. The proposal isn’t as simple as it seems though, and Mansion Global had Stewart Seeligson, managing partner at The Agency Telluride, weigh in. See the excerpt below and read the full article on Mansion Global.
Q: Can you explain how Initiative 50, the proposal to cap property taxes in Colorado, would work if passed?
A: Colorado voters are currently digesting two different proposals that promise to tackle the issue of property taxes skyrocketing as a result of surging home values. Each of them threatens to raise more questions than answers.
This November, voters will be asked to vote on Proposition HH, which proposes to reduce property tax valuations for many categories of residences but will simultaneously reduce the Taxpayers Bill or Rights—known as TABOR—refunds. In November 2024, they may have a chance to vote on another ballot measure, known as Initiative 50, which proposes a statewide cap on annual property taxes whenever revenues are expected to grow faster than 4%.
“Proposition HH is coming up this November, and Initiative 50 has been put together almost as a response to Proposition HH,” said Stewart Seeligson, managing partner at The Agency Telluride.
Supporters claim it offers a simple, statewide solution to the soaring property taxes caused by a hot property market, but opponents have questioned how the measure will work, given that property tax rates in Colorado vary from county to county. The proposal doesn’t lay out any mechanism by which the state and local governments would collectively make changes in accordance with the terms of the cap—or whether each city and county would take the same approach. So for now, it’s not possible to say how Initiative 50 would change an individual homeowner’s tax bill.
In principle, Initiative 50 takes a somewhat similar approach to TABOR, Seeligson said.
“TABOR limits the amount of revenues that the state legislature can retain or spend, and Initiative 50 would limit the amount by which property taxes would go up,” he said. “The intent is to protect the homeowner from a huge increase in property taxes, but it’s difficult to do on a state level because all the local communities are fairly autonomous in how they put forward the mechanisms of their own local property taxes. Generally, those funds stay within a county.”