Colorado voters rejected Prop HH by a vote of 61% to 39%. This is a huge win for taxpayers across Colorado and a big loss for Gov. Jared Polis.
Polis and his fellow advocates tried to assert Prop HH was a property tax cut, but Prop HH was actually a failed ploy to trick voters into authorizing the largest tax hike in state history.
Cleverly written, Prop HH is designed — at first glance — to look like a property tax cut, wrote Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, in a recent OpEd. While Prop HH would slightly reduce property tax rates and increase an existing exemption, those changes would not actually result in lower taxes. They would only result in faintly lower property tax increases this year before Prop HH would allow property taxes to grow at the same pace as property values. The fact is that Prop HH will result in massive and continued property tax hikes.
The ballot question goes on to say Prop HH authorizes the state to retain “a portion of the state surplus” to ‘backfill’ local governments, wrote Norquist. The ballot question fails to explain that the ‘surplus’ comes from over-collections in tax revenue that — thanks to Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR — are required by current law to be returned to taxpayers in what is known as their TABOR refund.
Prop HH – one smaller property tax increase in exchange for losing TABOR refunds over the long term – would have been a bad deal for taxpayers. Fortunately, voters saw through this gimmick and reject it at the ballot.