Colorado residents have spoken, and they said “no” to new taxes. On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, Colorado voters rejected Proposition HH—a ballot initiative that would have significantly raised taxes on Colorado families. In fact, if it passed, Prop HH would have cost Coloradans an estimated net $21 billion through 2040.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected Prop HH, with 60% opposing it, while voting 40% voted in favor.
Colorado has something called the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR)—which says state lawmakers must give any excess revenue back to taxpayers. Last year, Coloradans saw a refund of $750 per taxpayer.
Because of TABOR, lawmakers must ask Colorado residents when they want to keep that excess revenue. That’s just what those lawmakers did when they put Prop HH on the ballot.
But instead of using language that notes Prop HH would take away TABOR refunds—and in effect increase taxes—the authors that wrote the ballot language used deceptive wording, stating the measure would: “reduce property taxes for homes and businesses.”
Proponents of the measure were trying to trick voters into approving the measure, even though it would do nothing to reduce property taxes and would actually increase taxes—by taking away Coloradans’ TABOR refunds.
Since government officials and agencies would directly benefit from this ballot measure, who could voters turn to for information on the real implications of Prop HH?
Enter the Independence Institute.
Independence is a nonprofit policy organization in Denver. For years, Independence has been a voice for millions of Coloradans, advancing policies that improve lives in the Centennial State. Independence launched a campaign to educate voters on how Prop HH would hurt their wallets, and the state overall.
Through research, numerous op-eds, radio and TV appearances, videos, a website, and other outreach, Independence Institute raised awareness on how the proposition would raise taxes—at a time when so many families are struggling to afford groceries, gas, and their rent or mortgage.
Independence reiterated that Proposition HH:
Thanks to Independence’s efforts, and despite misleading language on the ballot, voters rejected Prop HH on Election Day.
Ben Murrey, the Independence Institute’s Fiscal Policy Center Director, noted: “Voters rejected Proposition HH because it did not provide the property tax relief lawmakers promised. Instead, it was a shell game designed to increase taxes and trick voters into giving up their taxpayer refunds. Voters made the right decision when they turned down this bad deal.”
Prop HH failed at the ballot box, but the work to provide property tax relief in Colorado remains. Property taxes are set to rise by 40% this year in Colorado. Murrey notes that before property tax bills are finalized next month, Colorado Governor Jared Polis will have no choice but to call a special legislative session.
During that session, Independence Institute is encouraging lawmakers to provide actual property tax relief that Colorado residents desperately need.
Proposition HH: Jared Polis’s Two-Faced Tax Hike
Independence Institute’s Ben Murrey at National Review
Coloradans Turn Down a Tax Grab
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board