Ken Brenner: Vote ‘yes’ on 7D
October 18, 2018
Our local governments and the essential services they provide to our communities are again under attack. Residential property tax revenue decreases, mandated by the 1982 Gallagher Amendment, hurt the budgets of firefighters/emergency medical services, schools, city and county governments, libraries and water districts.
I'm asking you to support Colorado Mountain College's ballot question 7D, which simply allows CMC's locally elected trustees to maintain our current revenue level by adjusting the mill levy to maintain those revenues that would otherwise be lost due to the statewide property tax assessment rate reductions mandated by Gallagher.
In 2017 Colorado Mountain College lost $2.8 million annually, forever, because of the Gallagher amendment adjustment. If 7D fails, in 2019 CMC could lose an additional $4 million annually, forever! Local governments throughout Western Colorado's mountain towns will see similar proportionate revenue losses.
When voters approved the Gallagher amendment, the goal was to maintain a ratio between residential and non-residential categories. But we've been experiencing explosive residential growth in Colorado, especially along the Front Range. That growth triggers a residential assessment rate decrease, which in turn decreases revenues to all of those local governments.
This problem is so serious that the Colorado legislature established an Interim Committee this spring to investigate possible legislative solutions. After holding stakeholder meetings throughout Colorado last summer, the interim committee has an array of possible solutions to propose to the legislature.
Those range between a repeal of Colorado's Gallagher Amendment to the state constitution with a statewide vote and a time out — extend from two years to four years or more the residential assessment rate adjustment. Obviously, there is no guarantee of anything actually happening during the 2019 legislative session.
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This is why I am asking for your support for ballot question 7D. You will give Colorado Mountain College, and potentially other local governments, the option to stabilize their revenues for the future in the event that no solution can be agreed to in the 2019 session.
Thank you for your support and for keeping Colorado Mountain College a vital part of our special mountain communities.
Colorado Mountain College board of trustees