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Vail passes de-Gallagher issue as statewide Amendment B cruises

November 4, 2020, 10:11 am

Vail voters on Tuesday approved Ballot Issue 2G stabilizing residential property taxes even as statewide Amendment B, repealing the Gallagher Amendment, passed by about a 14-point margin.

Here’s a press release from the Town of Vail:

Unofficial election results from the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder show Vail voters approving Ballot Issue 2G to stabilize residential property taxes as follows:

  • Yes/For           1,637 (54.69%)  
  • No/Against       1,356 (45.31%)

This was the sole ballot issue forwarded by the Vail Town Council for the Nov. 3 election. Local approval coincides with unofficial election results showing statewide approval of Amendment B, repealing the Gallagher Amendment across the state.

Since its enactment in 1982, the Gallagher Amendment has lowered the amount of property taxes that a town like Vail can collect from residential property owners based on the amount of commercial property taxes collected, rather than on the assessed value of the residential properties.

This has meant a reduction in property tax collections of $9.2 million in Vail over a 10-year period. Repeal of the Gallagher Amendment allows jurisdictions to keep residential property taxes at their current levels. It does not increase taxes.

Vail Mayor Dave Chapin says the Town Council is extremely grateful to Vail’s electorate for supporting Ballot Issue 2G and having the confidence to allow for more local control in directing how Vail property tax dollars are allocated in the event the state effort was defeated.

“As we continue to address our critical safety and economic recovery activities associated with the pandemic, these redirected revenues totaling an estimated $1.4 million in 2022 alone, will help support the essential services our taxpayers have come to expect, including public safety, our free bus system, the library and more. This property tax stabilization effort will do much to advance our community’s commitment to a long tradition of fiscal stewardship,” Chapin said.

For a complete list of unofficial election results, visit www.eaglecounty.us.

Here’s a press release from the Colorado Democrats who sponsored the measure to repeal the Gallagher Amendment statewide:

After record turnout across the state, Colorado voters have resoundingly approved Amendment B – winning by a margin of roughly 14 points. Amendment B repeals the Gallagher Amendment, which establishes a ratio between residential and non-residential property tax assessment rates. By repealing Gallagher, approximately $500 million annually will be protected for schools, hospitals, fire districts, and other community services without tax burdens unfairly shifting to small businesses.

“I am so thrilled that a majority of Coloradans reached the conclusion that our property tax code was outdated, and acted to reform our Constitution to make sure it’s working for us all,” said Senator Chris Hansen, one of the prime sponsors of the measure. “With the pandemic, wildfires, and virtual learning, our healthcare workers, firefighters, and teachers have been working overtime for us, and passing Amendment B will help make sure they receive the funding they need.”

Amendment B was placed on the ballot by Senate Concurrent Resolution 001, a measure sponsored by Senators Chris Hansen (D-Denver) & Jack Tate (R-Centennial), and Representatives Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo) & Matt Soper (R-Delta). With local jurisdictions throughout the state facing severe losses due to the pandemic while community needs are increasing, repealing Gallagher became an obvious choice to help alleviate the problem.

“The idea of tax fairness and stability is neither a Democratic or a Republican idea, it is a common-sense idea,” said Senator Tate. “Small businesses are struggling during the economic recession caused by the pandemic, but now they’ll have a lot more breathing room moving forward to get back to creating jobs and economic opportunity for all Coloradans.”

SCR20-001 was passed in June by a bipartisan super-majority of 74% of the General Assembly. Though bipartisan legislation is common, it is rare to have such overwhelming support for a measure such as this.

“As the Chair of the Joint Budget Committee, I saw how painful it was for our state to have to cut billions of dollars from our budget. We turned over every stone to protect funding for the core services our communities need to get through this pandemic, like funding for our schools and healthcare,” said Representative Esgar. “Now that Gallagher has been repealed, our state and county governments can breathe a little easier knowing they won’t be facing drastic cuts to the services Coloradans need.”

Along with SCR20-001, the legislature passed Senate Bill 20-223, which ensures that property tax assessment rates will remain frozen to stabilize revenue collected in special districts, which will help keep rural communities afloat.

“Rural hospitals, fire districts, and schools have been hit particularly hard by Gallagher, because we simply don’t have the large, commercial property tax base to support our local services,” said Representative Matt Soper. “Now that Gallagher is repealed, we’ll be able to fund rural hospitals, fire districts and other essential services that the Western Slope depends on.”

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