Steamboat Pilot & Today: Unintended consequences of Gallagher must be fixed
Author: The Steamboat Today Editorial Board - October 29, 2018 - Updated: October 29, 2018
The Gallagher Amendment, adopted by voters in 1982, continues to have far-reaching, unintended consequences, now forcing taxing districts, especially those in rural Colorado, to seek voter approval for workaround initiatives all of which appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
West Routt, Oak Creek, Yampa and Steamboat Springs Area fire protection districts, as well as Colorado Mountain College, are seeking voter approval to allow them to adjust their mill levy rates to offset reductions in property tax revenues linked to Gallagher. In essence, referendums 6C (Yampa), 6E (West Routt), 6F (Oak Creek), 6G (Steamboat) and 7D (CMC), if passed, would enable each taxing entity to maintain current revenue levels by adjusting the mill levy, compensating for the Gallagher-imposed decreases. The mill levies could never be raised above 2018 levels.
Gallagher is complicated, but in a nutshell, it’s a property tax-limiting provision of the state constitution that mandates the amount of property taxes collected on homes must always be lower than the amount collected on nonresidential property, and it limits residential properties to 45 percent of the statewide property tax base.