Lawmakers can allow school districts to raise property taxes without voter approval, Colorado Supreme Court rules
Monday’s ruling will likely allow districts to recoup millions of dollars in lost revenue and resolve a complicated tax issue that’s been swirling around the legislature and schools since 2007
The Colorado legislature may permit school districts to incrementally raise property taxes in coming years without the normally required voter approval under a bill that’s headed to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk, the state Supreme Court ruled on Monday.
Lawmakers asked the court to rule on the legality of House Bill 1164, which seeks to reverse the effects of erroneous guidance about the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights spending cap from the Colorado Department of Education that prompted districts to lower property taxes to comply with the limits. The guidance came despite the districts having permission from voters to waive the cap through what’s colloquially known as “debrucing.”
“School district voters previously approved waivers of the applicable TABOR limits,” the court said in its ruling. “Per the erroneous advice of the Colorado Department of Education, the school districts did not implement those waivers. And in House Bill 1164, the General Assembly seeks to eliminate the tax credits at issue simply to effectuate what the voters had previously authorized. In these circumstances, the court perceives nothing in TABOR requiring further voter approval.”
The court added: “House Bill 1164 simply effectuates what the voters have already approved.”
Monday’s ruling will, assuming House Bill 1164 is signed into law, allow districts to recoup tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue and resolve a complicated tax issue that’s been swirling around the legislature and schools since at least 2007. The measure passed the legislature on Monday, shortly after the Supreme Court ruling was handed down.
To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.
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