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Denver - "De-Brucing" Makes the November Ballot

by Joe Monzon, Denver, September 2012

 

Exactly 20 years after Colorado voters passed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the Denver City Council overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative asking voters to opt out of TABOR.

 

TABOR mandates that local governments either refund tax revenue in excess of limits set by a complex formula, or get voter approval to keep it. "De-Brucing" refers to Douglas Bruce, the author of the TABOR Amendment.

 

Make it Permanent

 

In 2005, Denver residents approved removing TABOR revenue limits on sales taxes but not on property taxes. The sales tax de-Brucing is set to expire in 2014.

 

Measure 2A on the November 6th ballot, seeks to permanently eliminate the revenue limits on both sales and property taxes. If it wins approval, Denver can keep about $68 million that it credits back to taxpayers each year.

 

In exchange for opting out of TABOR, the city plans to enact a four-year moratorium on personal property taxes levied on new business equipment.

 

Taxes Increase

 

Under Measure 2A, Denver would restore 6.2 mills to its property tax rate. The first four mills of the increase will occur in 2012, for taxes payable in 2013, and the other 2.2 mills are expected to be restored in the years after that, depending on the rate of growth of property tax values.

 

In addition to the issue of de-Brucing, Denver voters will be asked for other tax increases this fall. They include a $49 million mill levy override and a $457 million bond package for Denver Public Schools.