Residents challenge freeze on property tax rates
DENVER (AP) ” The Independence Institute think tank has announced a lawsuit challenging a state freeze on property-tax rates that were expected to fall, saying the measure qualifies as a tax increase that voters must approve.
The law would hold property taxes where they are in districts with relatively low rates. In some districts with the highest rates, the tax rate would fall. The law would generate more than $114 million extra in property taxes, according to the latest estimates.
Gov. Bill Ritter’s spokesman, Evan Dreyer, said the freeze does not need to go to an election because voters in the districts where it applies have already decided to break free of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which limits state taxing and spending.
“The question had already been asked and answered in 98 percent of the state ” 175 of 178 school districts,” Dreyer said.
Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, helped put together the lawsuit, but it was formally brought by Mesa County commissioners and five Colorado residents.
Evan Gluckman, who owns the Main Street Cafe in Grand Junction, said he decided to join the suit after hearing that the taxes on his business could jump by about $1,500 from around $5,000 to around $6,500 as a result of the freeze.