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Groups make the case for and against Amendment B

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DENVER (KDVR) — Adopted into the state’s constitution back in the 1980s, the Gallagher Amendment established a formula for residential and commercial property taxes. Some feel an amendment on this year’s ballot would correct issues presented by Gallagher and others say it is not the right answer.

When you think about property taxes, you may not think about organizations like “Imagine.”

Based in Boulder County, they provide services for children and young adults with special needs.

Bella Larsen said Imagine! helps her be productive in society.  

“I really like Imagine because they help people of all ages with disabilities and they are really awesome people,” Larsen said. “I think it helps me with finding an independent path.”

Imagine’s executive director said the services would be hard to deliver without proper support.

“Most of Imagine’s services are funded with government funding. That includes state and local funds. The repeal of the Gallagher Amendment, saying ‘yes’ Amendment B, would protect critical resources and funding to help pay for the services that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities rely on a day to day basis,” said Rebecca Novinger. 

Under Gallagher, 55 percent of the state’s total property taxes should come from commercial properties while the remaining 45 percent should come from residents.

If Amendment B passes, lawmakers would no longer be required to revise assessment rates periodically. Right now, that rate is around 7.15% for residents and 29% for businesses.

The measure’s main opponent agrees the state needs a better solution for property taxes but feels Amendment B is not the right answer.

“They don’t have a plan for what comes next. They are asking for a repeal and they say they’ll do a temporary freeze for a couple of years but there is no long-term stability on what they are going to replace this with and I think they should have come forward with their plan right when they are trying to repeal this,” said Michael Fields of Keep Property Taxes Low Colorado

If the measure isn’t passed, opponents want lawmakers to use a different approach for the issue next year.

“In these rural areas, their housing values don’t go up as much. So when their assessment rate gets dropped, it means less revenue for more localities. What I would like to see is a regional assessment rate, where in these areas where the houses aren’t going up as quickly in value, they would have a higher assessment rate and we wouldn’t have to keep going back to voters to try to get approval to maintain the services they have,” Fields said.

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