Letter to the editor: Suspending tax exemption is costing Coloradans money

The Colorado budget is $3 billion in the hole, and the Joint Budget Committee posted its “Staff Budget Balancing FY 2020-2021” document April 11, 2020.

Our state Sen. Bob Rankin and Rep. Julie McCluskie are on the Joint Budget Committee and have signed on to the recommendation to suspend the Homestead Tax Exemption to free up $163,578,262 toward decreasing the budget deficit. 

While the law took effect in 2002, legislators voted not to fund it in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011. This exemption has allowed many owners to remain in the homes they love.

Section 3.5 of Article X of the Colorado Constitution grants the property tax exemption to qualifying senior citizens and disabled veterans. The property tax exemption is 50% of the first $200,000 of actual property value.

The $3 billion deficit does not take into account the effects this COVID-19 pandemic will have on our state. This 2020 legislative session began $100 million in the red just from the READ Act and full-day kindergarten funding.  From there, the numbers increased to the current $3 billion.

It is objectionable to place a burden on seniors and disabled veterans because the state overextended itself.

The Joint Budget Committee also recommends suspending the annual PERA direct distribution, freeing up $225 million. Ask our legislators how they can consider a decision that can affect public employee retirees.

Colorado is required to have a balanced budget, and it is important to remind legislators that they spend our money. To add a greater burden on Coloradans, particularly with this pandemic, is unacceptable.

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