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New task force set to provide recommendations on Colorado property taxes

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(The Center Square) – The 19-person roster for Colorado’s property tax task force is complete, and its first meeting is scheduled for later this month.

House Bill 23B-1003, passed during last month’s special session, created the group to review property taxes in the state. The group will make recommendations to the General Assembly and governor for permanent property tax restructuring by March 15, 2024. It’s first meeting is scheduled for Dec. 20.

The bill states the commission must “identify, consider and evaluate legislative options for a property tax structure that protects property owners from rising tax bills and is sustainable for local governments and public schools.” A long list of factors the commission must consider include local control, impact to property owners and local taxing jurisdictions throughout the state, school finances. and statutorily mandated and voter-approved services provided by counties.

Party leaders in both chambers announced the four members of the General Assembly to serve on the task force.

Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, and one of the sponsors of the bill, appointed Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver. House Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, appointed Speaker Pro Tempore Chris deGruy Kennedy, D-Lakewood.

“To establish long-term property tax solutions, we need to bring all voices to the table so we can lay the groundwork for our ultimate goal of making Colorado more affordable for everyone,” McCluskie said.

Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen, R-Monument, appointed Sen. Mark Baisley, R-Sedalia. House Minority Leader Mike Lynch, R-Wellington, appointed Rep. Lisa Frizell, R-Castle Rock.

“The conversations around property taxes during this past special session unfortunately fell along party lines,” Frizell said in a statement. “Our hope is this task force will finally produce bipartisan solutions to this complicated and important issue. This task force is a real opportunity to put partisanship aside and work across the aisle and I hope my fellow appointees embrace that opportunity.”

The bill requires five county commissioners to be appointed representing the Front Range, mountain, eastern, southern and western regions of the state. The commissioners and the legislator making the appointment are:

Andy Kerr, Jefferson County (via Fenberg);Lori Laske, Alamosa County (via Lundeen);Tamara Pogue, Summit County (via McCluskie);Chris Richardson, Elbert County (via Lynch);Cody Davis, Mesa County (via Gov. Jared Polis)

The bill also requires a wide range of government officials in a variety of positions dealing with how property taxes are collected and spent. The positions, appointees and the legislator appointing them (where applicable) are:

Property tax administrator: JoAnn Groff, state property tax administrator;Mayor or elected city council person: Guyleen Castriotta, mayor of Bloomfield;Current or former county assessor: Brenda Dones, Weld County assessor (via Polis);Executive director of the Special District Association of Colorado: Ann Terry;School district chief financial officer: Brett Johnson, Aurora Public Schools;Education representative: Kevin Vick, vice president of the Colorado Education Association (via Fenberg);Commercial or residential property owner representative: Sean Dougherty, a realtor from Fort Collins and a former Larimer County Commissioner (via Lynch);Fire chief: Bob Olme, chief of West Metro Fire Rescue;Representative for low-income individuals, seniors, or tenants: Jonathan Cappelli, executive director of Neighborhood Development Collaborative (via McCluskie);Business representative: Loren Furman, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce (Lundeen);

Recommendations in the final report must be supported by 10 or more members and include short-term and long-term legislative initiatives to create a permanent and sustainable property tax structure, according to the bill.

The commission also can evaluate proposed initiatives on property taxes for the 2024 general election.

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