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OVERVIEW OF CHANGES
RESULTING FROM THE PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT B
(repeal of the Gallagher Amendment)
The General Assembly referred Senate Concurrent Resolution 20-001 to a vote of the people of Colorado, which was eventually passed as Amendment B. It eliminates most of the language in § 3(1)(b), article X, of the Colorado Constitution, commonly referred to as the Gallagher amendment. Eliminating this language eliminates Colorado’s variable residential assessment rate which was to be adjusted every two years to stabilize the amount of assessed value contribution of residential properties. The language that established 29% as the assessment rate for most other classes of property was also removed from the constitution. Consequently, all assessment rates are now established solely through statute.
The statutory language that directed the property tax administrator to conduct a study biennially to determine the residential assessment rate in conformance with the Gallagher amendment was removed by Senate Bill 20-223. Though technically not binding on future legislatures, that legislation also placed a moratorium on changing the statutorily established assessment rates in place at the time of Amendment B’s passage.
The assessment rate for residential real property for tax years commencing January 1, 2021 and after is 7.15%.
All other types of property assessment rates remain unchanged. Under the Gallagher amendment, the contribution of assessed value from residential property compared to all other properties needed to be maintained. (The proverbial 45/55 split.) During the 37 years the amendment was in place, the actual value of residential property grew more aggressively than all other properties’ value, causing the residential assessment rate to fall from 21% in 1983 to 7.15% in 2019. This mandatory comparison no longer exists. Consequently, as residential property actual values increase, the assessment rate will be fixed at 7.15%, almost certainly causing property tax increases for residential property.
Two important checks on property taxes remain in Colorado law – TABOR (Constitutional) and the 5.5 percent revenue limit (statutory). In part, according to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR): (1) any assessment rate for a class of property cannot be increased without a vote of the people statewide, (2) a taxing district’s spending limit in excess of inflation plus local growth must be approved by a vote, and (3) a taxing districts mill levy may not be increased over last year’s levy without a vote. In addition to TABOR, the 5.5 percent revenue limit generally limits a taxing entity’s property tax revenue to the amount of revenue it collected in the prior year plus five and one-half percent. It is important to note that many taxing jurisdictions have already obtained voter approval to exempt them from TABOR mill levy and statutory 5.5 percent limits.
Agricultural Land and Property Taxes
The mission statement of the Gunnison County Assessor's Office is to provide property data and valuation services, using industry best practices, to Gunnison County property owners, taxing entities and the public, so that they can understand the characteristics that determine property value, receive fair and equitable valuations and have the information they need to make decisions.