The most recent happenings from the campaign to keep corporate big business interests from raising your residential property taxes!
Protect Our Homes Colorado; Save the Gallagher Amendment
CrossCurrents - Amendment B Video
7/22/2020 - The initial draft of the Colorado Blue Book has been distributed. The campaign's response and proposed changes have been submitted
8/13/2020 - Guest Dennis Gallagher, co-other of the Gallagher Amendment, joins Kim Munson to talk about the ballot measure on November’s ballot to repeal the Gallagher Amendment, which was passed in 1982 by the voters to keep the residential rate to 45% and the business rate to 55% for real estate taxes
8/17/2020 - The second draft of the Colorado Blue Book has been put out by the Colorado Legislative Council. Presentation of the final draft will be on September 3rd meeting of the Legislative Council.
‘Protect Our Homes Colorado’ Files Emergency Restraining Order for Lack of Fair, Impartial Analysis in Blue Book Regarding ‘Amendment B’
Citizen complaint filed to halt Blue Book printing ahead of Sept. 10 deadline
DENVER (Sept. 9, 2020) – Protect Our Homes Colorado, the issue committee dedicated to helping voters understand why they should vote “no” on Amendment B in November, has filed a citizen complaint and motion for emergency restraining order to the State of Colorado. Included as defendants on the order are the State of Colorado, the Colorado Legislative Council, the Colorado Legislative Council Staff and the Colorado General Assembly, for failing to provide a fair and impartial analysis of Amendment B, repealing the Gallagher Amendment, in the Ballot Information Booklet (the “Blue Book”), as the Colorado Constitution mandates.
According to the complaint filed today, proponents of the ballot measure, including the majority leader of the house who introduced one of the amendments, slipped in last-minute edits to the final version of the blue book that are patently untrue and misleading to voters. The complaint accuses the language of disguising the harm that the Gallagher repeal, or Amendment B, will do to Coloradans. The booklet is scheduled to go to the printer on Sept. 10.
According to the Blue Book revisions, a “yes” vote repeals sections of the Colorado Constitution and claims that it won’t raise taxes on residential property owners. This is a blatant lie. By repealing the Gallagher Amendment, the Colorado Property Tax Administrator estimates that residential property owners will pay an additional $203.7 million in property tax increases in the first year, and over $1.02 billion over the next five years, that homeowners would not pay if the Amendment fails. This additional tax burden will continue every year thereafter and would likely go even higher in the future. It is estimated that the Gallagher Amendment has saved homeowner and renters $35 million since its inception in 1982.
“This brand-new version of the blue book description of the ballot measure makes it sound like this property tax hike is actually a property tax cut. That’s dishonest. Voters deserve to know exactly what it is that they are voting for or against,” said former Democratic Speaker of the Colorado House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst. “This ballot measure targets the very people most negatively affected by COVID, vulnerable homeowners and renters who will see housing costs rise should this pass. This is not the year to go to voters with a tax increase.”
Other issues with the language in the Blue Book include promises that these funds will fund firefighters, police, health care, and education. According to the complaint, there is no provision in the ballot measure that guarantees any funding from repealing the Gallagher Amendment will benefit these community services.
The Blue Book is intended, by the Colorado Constitution, to be a nonpartisan overview of the typically complex measures included on the ballot. The Blue Book, by statue, must be fair and impartial and in this week’s hearing, the head of the Legislative Council, authors of the Blue Book, went so far as to call the Blue Book “The People’s Book.”
“With less than five minutes of discussion, the proponents of the ballot measure threw our months of public input and staff work with changes to nearly everything, including the title, placement of sections, new graphs and charts, and wholesale changes in wording. Ironically, they also removed the phrase that the measure “is working as intended”, which I asked to be included in the Blue Book. They did not know my intent, it was to protect Colorado homeowners from tax increases, which is what the repeal of Gallagher will allow them to do,” said Dennis Gallagher, former Democratic Denver City Auditor, the namesake of the taxpayer protection measure and author of the original Gallagher Amendment. “With today’s action, they have turned the entire process on its head. Today’s process was not an open, honest, and fair process that takes any public input or concern into account.”
Protect Our Homes Colorado hopes this complaint and motion for emergency restraining order will allow Amendment B to receive a fair and impartial analysis, per the Colorado Constitution, in order to give Colorado voters a fair understanding of their actions at the polls in November.
Dennis Gallagher: Passing Amendment B, repealing my namesake, will raise property taxes by $203 million in the first year
By Dennis Gallagher | Guest Commentary
There they go again. Corporate special interests are trying to fund an additional tax break on the backs of homeowners and renters. Their latest ploy is the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment.
A vote to repeal the Gallagher Amendment, which is a “yes” vote on B, will cause huge property tax increases for homeowners and renters throughout Colorado. Since Gallagher was adopted residential property tax owners have saved $35 billion, an average savings of $17,000 per homeowner and renter.
The most offensive part of Amendment B is its attempt to deceive voters. Proponents claim it will not increase homeowners’ taxes. The reality is that this claim is a lie. According to the Colorado property tax administrator, residential property tax owners will pay an additional $203,781,937 in property tax increases in the first year after repeal. Over five years we will pay an astronomical increase of $1.02 Billion. While homeowners and renters face these increases, corporate special interests could see decreases in their property taxes.
As The Denver Post admitted in its editorial supporting Amendment B, the Gallagher Amendment has worked. It kept residential property taxes low in Colorado. Comparing Colorado to New Jersey proves this point. The average homeowner in Colorado pays $2,046 while the average homeowner in New Jersey pays $8,477. Vote “no” on Amendment B and we will not have to pay these excessive property taxes.
The misguided effort to repeal the Gallagher Amendment is wrong during the current health and economic crisis. Unemployment is 10.2%, 32% of homeowners are behind in their mortgages, and 12% of renters are behind in their rent payments.
The Denver Post is correct that the Gallagher Amendment has different impacts upon different regions. The solution for many rural areas is for local government to prove to the voters that it is in their best interest to have tax increases to support basic services. It is not to Repeal Gallagher and cause all Colorado residents to face massive property tax increases.to Gallagher to address specific concerns. But I will not support repeal which will cost homeowners and renters millions more, while corporate businesses could pay millions less. Vote no on Amendment B!
Dennis Gallagher served in the Colorado General Assembly as a senator and representative for almost three decades. He was also a Denver City councilmember and the City Auditor. The Gallagher Amendment is named for him.
Citing ‘Lack of Jurisdiction,’ Judge Dismisses Emergency Restraining Order on Blue Book Printing of ‘Amendment B’
Court order puts Legislature above the law
DENVER (Sept. 11, 2020) – Judge Martin F. Egelhoff today ruled today to dismiss the citizen complaint and motion for emergency restraining order against the Ballot Information Booklet (the “Blue Book”), citing a separation of powers doctrine prohibiting a court from interfering in a legislative function. The complaint was filed Wednesday, Sept. 9 by Protect Our Homes Colorado, the issue committee dedicated to helping voters understand why they should vote “no” on Amendment B, or no on the Gallagher repeal. The complaint asserted that the recently revised language covering Amendment B misleads voters and fails to serve as an unbiased source for the November election.
Included as defendants on the order were the State of Colorado, the Colorado Legislative Council, the Colorado Legislative Council Staff and the Colorado General Assembly. While the Attorney General’s Office got involved, neither the judge’s decision or the defendants’ rebuttal addressed the facts of the case, nor did they deny any of the 18 accusations from the complaint.
“This decision was just an excuse to hide behind a legislative loophole,” said Clay Vigoda, campaign manager of Protect Our Homes Colorado. “By arguing the jurisdiction of the case, rather than its merits, the legislature is essentially telling Coloradans they’re not accountable to the citizens for delivering a fair and impartial Blue Book, thus above the law. A bipartisan vote does not mean it’s fair and impartial. What the Legislature did was totally unprecedented and biased. If this is allowed to stand, it will continue to happen.”
The plaintiff group disagrees with the judge’s decision that it’s a legislative function, arguing it as constitutional provision that should be addressed by the courts.
“We presented 18 allegations of legislative abuse in putting untrue language into the Blue Book and creating a propaganda document for the “yes” side,” Vigoda continued. “In their response they had no answer for any of these allegations. They had nothing to say because they don’t want homeowners to know that the passage of Amendment B will mean residential property owners will pay and estimated $203.7 million more in its first year alone.”
The ruling came after the deadline for printing the Blue Book passed on Sept. 10. Protect Our Homes Colorado noted the changes in the Blue Book were made last minute with no deliberation or public input after the changes were made.
“It’s not the voter’s fault the Blue Book language was altered with no time to review,” said Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, former Democratic Speaker of the Colorado House. “They shouldn’t be penalized with misleading language because of legislators’ involvement and push.”
“If the proponents are not telling you this is a property tax hike, they are being dishonest,” Vigoda said. “It’s that simple.”
Protect Our Homes Colorado is exploring other options in order to address this clear “disservice to Coloradans” and “conflict of interest” between legislators and the election process.