Letter: Steamboat Chamber supports Amendment B | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Steamboat Chamber supports Amendment B

Over the last few years, the Steamboat Springs Chamber has reacted to member requests for more business advocacy. 

To satisfy these requests for advocacy, we created a Public Policy Committee of the Steamboat Springs Chamber to analyze initiatives that may impact businesses in Routt County. One such initiative is the Gallagher Amendment, which has been discussed for many years in the Steamboat Springs Chamber Board of Directors meetings.

The Gallagher Amendment is an amendment to the Colorado Constitution from the 1980s that puts the onus of the majority of property tax on commercial property owners and business owners. The amendment does so by stating that residential property will not pay for more than 45% of the revenue generated by property tax in all of Colorado. 

Gallagher forces 20% of Colorado’s property owners to pay 55% of Colorado’s property taxes. That discrepancy is greatest in rural Colorado and Routt County is no exception. Gallagher’s tax formula is more fitting for Denver and the Front Range where there is a larger commercial presence and little to no agriculture. In rural areas, Gallagher focuses taxes on small business and agriculture putting the funding for basic local services on those rather than equally distributing amongst all property owners. If Gallagher stays in place, that discrepancy will only increase.

When property tax initiatives arise, no matter how critical, it gives pause to business owners as they contemplate how they will be able to continue to function if another property tax is implemented. If our community wants to increase a mill levy to pay for a new fire station or school, Gallagher mandates that business, manufacturing, and agriculture property get taxed at a rate that is currently four times higher than residential property tax. Gallagher requires the choice to either penalize business with higher tax rates or not add that wing on to the school (as business owners cannot afford to continue to tax themselves). 

After much review, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Board of Directors voted to support Amendment B. A “yes” vote on Amendment B repeals the Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado State Constitution. Voting “yes” on Amendment B will freeze property tax assessment rates at the current rates (7.15% for residential property and 29% for non-residential property). 

The Steamboat Springs Chamber joins other local chambers across the state in repealing an outdated constitutional amendment. This bipartisan effort bill passed with broad support.

We hope you will join us in voting “yes” on Amendment B to repeal Gallagher, enabling our small businesses to thrive and continue to provide meaningful employment for our friends and neighbors.

Kara Stoller
Steamboat Springs Chamber CEO 

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