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Colorado lawmakers conclude 2024 session, say they ‘delivered’ on key issues

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(The Center Square) – Colorado lawmakers adjourned the 2024 regular session on Wednesday, but not before striking some major bipartisan deals in the final weeks of the session.

Both Democrats and Republicans touted income tax and property tax legislation as relief for Colorado taxpayers in statements following the legislature’s adjournment.

“This legislative session we delivered big time on the issues that matter most to Coloradans,” Gov. Jared Polis said. “In my State of the State address, I outlined a future where Coloradans have housing options near work and transportation that they can afford, schools are fully funded, Coloradans are safer in our communities, Coloradans pay less in taxes, and we protect our clean air and environment for future generations. Thanks to the hard work over the past few months, we are closer to that reality today.”

Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, called the session “nothing short of transformational for our families and communities. Coloradans demanded that we take bold action to address the issues that matter most to them, and I am pleased to say we delivered.”

According to Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, Republicans “delivered relief in a big way this session concluding measures we have championed for years. The package we have delivered puts the people of Colorado ahead of government at every turn.”

Income Taxes:

Senate Bill 24-228, introduced just last week, would temporarily cut the income tax rate from 4.4% to 4.25% under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and also creates a new refund mechanism cutting the state’s sales and use taxes by .13 percentage points.

Republicans are touting the cuts as the largest in state history totaling $450 million.

Property Taxes:

A bipartisan bill introduced on Monday – and passed on late Wednesday – would limit local government property tax rates at 5.5%, and lower commercial property taxes to 27.9% in 2024 and one percentage point lower each year until reaching 25% in 2027.

The legislation has the support of various groups ranging from the Colorado Chamber of Commerce to the Bell Policy Center, while a pair of property tax measures are still planned for the ballot. Other groups like the Common Sense Institute said “Coloradans will still see an increase in property taxes from what is being paid today” despite the bill.

Energy Agreement:

Organizations and lawmakers also came to a compromise that they say will reduce emissions by the oil and gas industry while also providing a funding stream for a passenger rail. The agreement reportedly keeps competing energy measures off the ballot.

The plan came after stricter legislation that would have ended the issuance of new oil and gas permits died in a Senate committee.

State Budget:

Polis last month signed the state’s $40.6 billion budget into law, which marks a 3.7% increase from the prior budget. The budget notably included $141.2 million to eliminate the state’s budget stabilization factor for education.

Gun Control:

Despite Democrats having strong majorities in both chambers, another attempt to ban the sale or purchase of so-called assault weapons in Colorado failed again this session. However, this time around the bill passed the House, while last session it didn’t advance past the Judiciary Committee.

Democrats did, however, pass several other gun control bills that make it harder to get a concealed carry permit, require firearm dealers to get a state permit for sales, and requirements for firearms to have a merchant category code.

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