Amendment B puts the spotlight on Gallagher’s mixed legacy of budget cuts, tax relief and inequality in Colorado
A new Colorado Sun analysis of state property tax data determined that Gallagher has exacerbated Colorado’s urban-rural divide, gashing public budgets in small communities that already struggle to afford essential services.
If you live in the Denver metro area, you can be forgiven if the panic surrounding the Gallagher Amendment sounds like utter nonsense.
“What tax cuts?” a homeowner may ask. Gallagher has saved Colorado residents $2.8 billion in property taxes last year alone, but in the metro area, homeowners continue to see their property tax bills rise.
Since voters added the Gallagher Amendment to the state constitution in 1982, the property-tax-limiting measure has carved out a complicated legacy, distributing its benefits — and its headaches — unevenly across the state.
It’s these disparities that made Gallagher one of Colorado’s most intractable political problems for decades. And the starkly different realities of urban and rural areas are part of why state lawmakers — after years of failing to agree on a replacement for Gallagher — are now asking voters to get rid of it entirely.
On the one hand, Gallagher has delivered a cumulative $35 billion in property tax cuts to residents across the state since it took effect, offering families at least some relief from the meteoric rise in Front Range housing costs.
On the other, a new Colorado Sun analysis of state property tax data determined that Gallagher has exacerbated Colorado’s urban-rural divide, gashing public budgets in small communities that already struggle to afford essential services, like fire protection, health care and education, even as the Front Range prospers. The constitutional amendment’s ripple effects have also trickled up to the state government, demanding ever more resources for schools, and exacerbating historic budget shortfalls that today threaten to set the state’s finances back to the darkest days of the Great Recession.
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In Eagle County, the most commonly reported dead bird has been the Wilson’s warbler, which is yellow. Dead yellow-rumped warblers have also been a common sight.