Hardworking, everyday Coloradans are hurting. Out of control inflation plus high taxes and fees are forcing difficult choices on homeowners, renters, and small businesses. The basics for Coloradans to live life are becoming increasingly more expensive. This is not the time to increase property taxes on Coloradans.
I have analyzed the two ballot questions presented by the Douglas County School District (DCSD), to which I adamantly recommend “NO” votes. 5A is asking for a $60 million-per-year mill levy override (property tax hike) and 5B is asking to incur significant new debt that we must pay off. I hope my analysis on these questions is helpful as you consider tax increases on your 2022 November ballot. Generally, I recommend “NO” votes on all property tax increases.
Anyone living in the metro Denver area can already expect a significantly higher property tax bill because of the new reassessed valuation of your property near the height of the metro real estate market. Renters do not get a pass on this one because apartment owners pass on higher taxes to renters in the form of increased rents even though apartment owners may already be receiving subsidy money from government entities.
For example, Douglas County real estate is expected to be reappraised 40% to 50% upward in 2023, so a $4,000 property tax bill in 2022 becomes a $6,000 property tax bill in 2024 and a $6,000 property tax bill becomes a $9,000 property tax bill. The 5A property tax increase would be in addition to those reappraisal increases. At some point seniors will be taxed out of owning their homes and young people will not be able to afford the taxes to buy a home. These taxes help make housing unaffordable in Colorado. It is time to say no.
Enrollment in the district is not increasing compared to the population growth of Douglas County. In the last 10 years, the population of Douglas County has increased 26% from 295,000 people to 373,000 people, but the district’s student enrollment has been flat in those same 10 years.
Question 5B is asking to incur new debt (that all property owners must pay off) of a total of $775 million of principle and interest. This would over double the district’s debt load. Is this a good idea in highly inflationary, recessionist times? I think not.
Lastly, alienated parents are a deeper challenge for the school district. While DCSD has many amazing teachers, parents are concerned about “woke” ideology indoctrination in the curriculum. Public education has lost its monopoly over the parents and students. Using technology and entrepreneurism, parents now have alternatives to government run public schools. School districts must learn to compete for students and satisfy the parents. Until that happens, student enrollment growth will be slow or flat, even down. Vote NO on school district tax increases.
Vote “NO” on new property taxes. Wait to vote for new taxes until you understand what your tax bill will be in 2023 and 2024.
Kim Monson is a former Lone Tree City Councilmember and host of the Kim Monson Show on KLZ 560 AM.
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