DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado voters have decided to extend property tax exemptions to Gold Star spouses with the passage of Amendment E, according to the Associated Press.
Amendment E is designed to extend the homestead property tax exemption to Gold Star spouses — that is, the surviving spouse of a U.S. armed forces service member who died in the line of duty or who’s a veteran who died from a service-related injury or disease.
The exemption is already afforded to Coloradans aged 65 and older, who have lived in their home for at least 10 years, as well as veterans with a service-connected disability. While the surviving spouse of a 100% disabled veteran is able to keep the homestead exemption, that benefit is not afforded to Gold Star spouses.
The homestead exemption reduces property taxes by an average of $630 for homes worth more than $200,000, according to the state ballot book.
Proponents of the measure argue that the benefit helps Gold Star families meet their financial needs and the expenses of home ownership, which can worsen after the death of a spouse.
In the arguments against the measure, it’s noted that it only benefits Gold Star families who are financially able to own homes. They also point out that the benefit is meant to address employment and income limitations for disabled veterans, while Gold Star spouses may not suffer the same challenges.
Counties collect property taxes, and the state reimburses them for reduced collections because of homestead exemptions. Last year, the state reimbursed counties $162.1 million in homestead exemptions, according to the state ballot book. Extending the benefit to Gold Star spouses could increase state spending by $288,000 starting in 2023.