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KUNC is a member of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

Early results show Colorado voters oppose measure to cut property taxes

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Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
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Colorado residents appear to have rejected a measure that would have permanently reduced property tax rates for several kinds of property owners.

Unofficial results as of 11 p.m. Tuesday showed 56.63% of voters opposing Proposition 120.

Educators and some local governments led the effort to lobby against the tax cuts, saying they would hurt essential government services like public schools and fire departments.

“It just exacerbates the inequities that exist within our communities,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, the head of the Colorado Education Association. “There are those communities that have been able to go to their voters and to ask for voters to raise their taxes, to support their local school districts. And even when that happens in some communities, because they have a lower property tax base, it's not the same as that happening in, say, maybe the neighboring community.”

State lawmakers also tried to get ahead of the ballot measure when they passed some temporary property tax cuts for residents earlier this year.

Proposition 120 was the most complicated, and potentially impactful, statewide question on the ballot this year.

Supporters vowed to go to court if it passed to try and extend the tax breaks to all residential property owners.

As the measure trailed Tuesday evening, ballot measure author Michael Fields said he thinks more voters said 'no' because they could not determine whether they would get a tax break.

Fields and supporters of 120 also accused lawmakers of limiting the measure’s impact when they passed a law earlier this year that changed who would qualify for the tax breaks proposed under the ballot question.

"I think that is such a bad precedent that the Legislature is getting involved in altering ballot issues," he said.

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