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Colorado Voters Face Two Property Tax Relief Options Amidst Recent Legislative Change

Tax Development Jun 14, 2024

Colorado Voters Face Two Property Tax Relief Options Amidst Recent Legislative Change

Colorado voters are currently facing a significant decision on how to best address the issue of rising property tax valuations. This issue has brought forth two competing proposals, each with its own approach to alleviating the financial burden on property owners while considering the broader impact on public services.

Lawmakers’ Proposal

One option, developed and enacted by state lawmakers, aims to provide relief by cutting assessment rates for both residential and commercial properties. This proposal seeks to create a more stable and predictable property tax environment. By reducing the assessment rates, lawmakers hope to moderate the tax increases that have resulted from soaring property valuations.

Key Features

  • Reduction in Assessment Rates: The proposal includes a systematic reduction in the rates at which properties are assessed for tax purposes. This means a lower taxable value for properties, thereby reducing the tax bill for property owners.
  • Stability and Predictability: Lawmakers emphasize this approach offers a balanced solution that provides property tax relief while maintaining consistent revenue streams for essential services.
  • Protection for Public Services: A critical aspect of this proposal is its aim to safeguard funding for schools, local governments, and other public services, which are heavily dependent on property tax revenues.

Citizens’ Initiative

In contrast, the other proposal is a citizens’ initiative that seeks a more drastic intervention. This initiative proposes to revert property tax levels back to what they were two years ago, followed by the implementation of a hard cap on revenue growth. 

Key Features 

  • Rollback to Previous Levels: The initiative aims to roll back property tax valuations to their levels from two years prior, effectively resetting them to a time before the recent surge in property values.
  • Revenue Growth Cap: After resetting the valuations, the initiative would place a hard cap on how much property tax revenues can increase each year. This is designed to prevent future sharp increases and provide long-term predictability for property owners.
  • Greater Relief for Property Owners: Proponents argue this approach delivers more significant and immediate relief to property owners, offering a respite from the rapid escalation in tax obligations.

The debate between these two proposals highlights fundamentally different approaches to managing property taxes and balancing the needs of various stakeholders. Supporters of the lawmakers’ proposal argue that a gradual reduction in assessment rates offers a more sustainable form of tax relief without causing abrupt revenue shortfalls, thus protecting critical public services like education and local government operations. In contrast, advocates for the citizens’ initiative claim that resetting tax levels to previous years and capping revenue growth will provide more immediate and substantial financial relief for property owners, reducing the volatility and unpredictability of property tax obligations. 

Recognizing the complexity of property tax policy, the proposals reflect diverse perspectives and interests, including those of property owners, schools, and local governments. Each approach has its own merits and potential drawbacks, and the decision will hinge on which method is deemed most effective in addressing rising property tax valuations without compromising public service funding. As Colorado voters weigh these options, their choice will significantly shape the future of property tax policy in the state, reflecting the values and priorities of Colorado’s residents in balancing fiscal relief with the need to support essential public services. Our experts are available to answer questions regarding this initiative.

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Matt Poling

The material presented in this communication is intended to provide general information only and should solely be seen as broad guidance and not directed to the particular facts or circumstances of any individual who may read this publication. No liability is accepted for acts or omissions taken in reliance upon the content of this piece. Before taking (or not taking) any action, readers should seek professional advice specific to their situation from Ryan, LLC or other tax professionals. For additional information about this topic, please contact us at