In a special webinar for NFIB members, Ben Murrey of the Independence Institute says the property tax reduction ballot measure has a greater goal in mind
Looming increases in property tax assessments have all Colorado homeowners on edge but will Proposition HH help cushion the financial blow set to hit next year?
“The politics of property taxes is not about property taxes,” Ben Murrey told NFIB members and their guests on a special, June 6 webinar organized by NFIB Colorado. “It’s about putting as much money into state coffers as possible … The state has a constitutional obligation to backfill revenues to local governments if they [local governments] don’t meet certain revenue thresholds, so the long and short of it is if property taxes go up, then the state obligation to pay money from their budget to local governments to help fund schools goes down, which frees up money to spend on other projects.”
According to Murrey, director of the Independence Institute’s Fiscal Policy Center, that leaves just TABOR standing in the way of politicians’ unquenchable thirst to spend as many tax dollars as they can get their hands on. Property tax relief? According to Murrey state legislators and the governor already have the authority to reduce the levy. “The only reason why Proposition HH is on the ballot is to take away your TABOR refund forever.
“You are going to see the largest property tax increase in Colorado history if voters adopt Proposition HH … and are eventually going to lose their TABOR refunds, not in Year 1 or Year 2 but at some point, it will happen.”
Murrey said the run at TABOR was emboldened by the repeal of the state’s Gallagher Amendment, which he conceded was not a perfect law but was “the only leverage, apart from TABOR, that property owners had to get something better than Gallagher [itself]. I believe it was foolish for the business community to jump on board in repealing Gallagher. What we did was give up the Gallagher Amendment for nothing in return and in doing so, we gave up all our leverage. Now that Gallagher is gone, the only leverage we have to get some kind of concession on property tax reform is TABOR.”
Click the arrow below to listen to this highly informative, hour-long webinar on what lies ahead for TABOR. Below it is a slide from Murrey’s presentatation titled ‘What Happens After 2032.’