CAR Stands Firm Against Proposition HH: Colorado Voters Reject Property Tax Proposal

Stephanie Kroll

In a significant turn of events, Colorado voters have spoken, and the resounding response is a rejection of Proposition HH, a state-wide ballot proposal aimed at property tax changes. The Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) had taken a stance against the proposition, citing various concerns about its complexity and potential long-term consequences. Let's delve into the details of CAR's opposition and the broader implications of the measure's defeat.

CAR's opposition to Proposition HH stems from a thorough examination of the proposal's intricacies. According to REALTOR® Will Flowers, the seemingly straightforward ballot question unraveled into a complex 12-page document in the Colorado Blue Book, raising numerous concerns about its impact on residents.

One major issue highlighted by CAR is that over 800,000 renting households, equivalent to approximately 2 million Coloradans, would not receive property tax relief under Proposition HH. Instead, they might lose their TABOR (Taxpayer's Bill of Rights) refunds. A recent poll by the Colorado Health Foundation revealed that 85% of renters aspire to own a home, yet nearly half of them find it unlikely to achieve this dream in Colorado. Reduced TABOR refunds mean less money in renters' pockets for homeownership or meeting daily expenses.

CAR CEO Tyrone Adams emphasized that Proposition HH complicates property tax relief, introducing new classes of residential property and making it harder for people to access their tax benefits. He expressed concerns about the measure's 10-year duration, allowing the state legislature to make continuous changes without further voter approval, potentially impacting TABOR refunds until 2032.

Moreover, the proposition introduced unnecessary complexities, such as requiring occupied residential property owners to file an application for a market value reduction starting in 2025. CAR argues that property tax relief should be straightforward and without strings attached.

The rejection of Proposition HH is a significant setback for Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers who sought a property tax cut in exchange for looser spending restrictions under TABOR. Preliminary vote counts indicate that the measure received only 40% support, with a resounding 60% in opposition.

The billion-dollar stakes tied to Proposition HH made it a focal point in the odd-year election, attracting substantial national funding. Despite Democratic allies raising approximately $3 million to support the initiative, conservative opposition, led by groups like Advance Colorado and Americans for Prosperity, rallied with the same amount of cash.

The defeat prompts questions about potential legislative responses to rising property taxes before the scheduled increases in January. It also provides momentum for conservative groups advocating for their own property tax cut proposals in the 2024 ballot.

CAR's comprehensive evaluation and subsequent opposition to Proposition HH align with their commitment to ensuring transparent and effective property tax relief for all Coloradans. The resounding rejection by voters underscores the need for well-vetted solutions that simplify processes and benefit a broader spectrum of residents. The aftermath of this defeat will undoubtedly fuel discussions on alternative approaches to address rising property taxes while upholding fiscal responsibility.

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