Letter: Stop paying more than a fair share | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Stop paying more than a fair share

Small businesses in Colorado have been hit particularly hard in recent years by the Gallagher Amendment, a 1980s constitutional amendment to the Colorado Constitution that puts an unfair burden for property taxes on commercial real estate owners. 

Gallagher requires a formula in determining the ratio of residential to commercial property taxes where residential taxes cannot exceed more than 45% of total state collections. Because the growth in both valuations and inventory of residential property has far exceeded that of commercial property, this formula has caused the unintended consequence of commercial property being both valued and having to pay property tax rates at four times the rate of residential property.

In most cases, large commercial centers, like Central Park Plaza, are not impacted by this as they pass property taxes and increases in taxes on to their tenants. The people most affected are small business people that either own their own property or rent from commercial property owners. These small business owners have to absorb this “pass through” cost as it typically cannot be passed on to our customer.

This has created a lot of conflicting feelings in me and other local business people that I know, who often look at a potential tax initiative and just can’t support it because of the inequity in our tax system. As a small business owner, I have had to oppose several deserving tax initiatives because my small business could not afford to pay four times the tax. 

Because of this inequity, and the future impacts that a repeal of the Gallagher Amendment could have in funding much needed basic services here in Steamboat Springs, I urge you to vote yes on Amendment B in the upcoming election. A yes vote repeals the Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado State Constitution and will freeze property tax assessments at the current rates of 7.15% for residential property and 29% for non-residential property. This will stop the ever increasing burden on small businesses to pay more than their fair share and will result in a more equitable property tax system for our state.

Scott Marr
Routt County

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