FORT COLLINS– Voters in the northern Colorado city of Fort Collins on Tuesday shot down an effort by city officials to increase the local cost of housing through a property tax-hiking ballot measure. Those same voters went on to pass a separate measure raising the city sales tax, though by a much smaller margin than what the property tax question lost by.
Ballot Question 2B–referred to voters by the city council–asked for a three mills property tax hike, or roughly $82 more per-year on a $400,000 home. Ironically, the new revenue from increase property taxes was earmarked to fund, among other things, programs and services provided by the city, other public entities and non-profit organizations to “subsidize affordable housing.” Fort Collins voters trounced the measure by a margin of 60-40, roughly the same margin by which Colorado voters rejected the fatally-flawed state-wide property tax measure, Proposition HH (59-41).
In recent remarks on convening a special legislative session in the wake of Prop HH’s defeat, Governor Jared Polis noted that “property taxes contribute to the high cost of housing.” And it wasn’t just Fort Collins voters that rejected raising housing costs. As Complete Colorado previously reported, voters in Longmont on Tuesday shot down not just one, but a trio of local property tax hikes.
While Fort Collins voters said no higher property taxes, they did say yes to Ballot Question 2A, also referred by city council, which raises sales and use taxes on all things except food for home consumption and manufacturing equipment (sales tax only exemption), by one-half of one percent for 26 years, and is expected to raise over $24 million per year. The measure passed by 53%.
That the city council exempted food from the measure is telling, and likely helped along passage, as voters in nearby Loveland on Tuesday outright repealed that city’s 3 percent tax on the same, in a sign of how unpopular the taxing of groceries has become.
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