2023 Colorado Ballot Guide

2023 Colorado Ballot Guide

Welcome to the Bell Policy Center’s 2023 Colorado Ballot Guide! 

There are two statewide questions on the November ballot, one dealing with property taxes and another addressing funding for early childhood education. Proposition HH asks voters to modify the state’s property tax structure to provide tax relief to homeowners and ensure schools and local services are funded. Proposition II would allow the state to retain revenue collected for early childhood education that exceeds previous projections. 

This ballot guide is the result of research and analysis by Bell staff, who have examined data, history and context to provide clear arguments in favor and against each of the questions on the ballot. The Bell has provided recommendations on these measures, as well as rated them for tax fairness, racial equity, and economic mobility. We know you have a lot of choices when it comes to seeking out ballot guidance, and we’re honored that you’re here.

Local Ballot Measures: The Bell examined three local ballot measures to be decided in November, 2023 that show how local communities are stepping up and attempting to close service gaps. The Bell is featuring these questions not to support or oppose, but to highlight local efforts to solve broader problems. Read More

Informational banner for Proposition HH, as featured in the 2023 Colorado Ballot Guide, indicating a recommendation to vote 'yes' for property tax changes and revenue change measure.

Proposition HH

Property Tax Changes and Revenue Change Measure

Summary: Proposition HH, referred to voters by the Colorado legislature, would reduce property taxes for homeowners and businesses through 2032; allow the state to retain additional revenue to backfill revenue losses to local governments, fund school districts, and assist renters; and establish a new limit on property tax revenue growth for some local governments. In 2023 only, it would make TABOR rebates equal for all taxpayers.

Recommendation: The Bell Policy Center recommends a YES vote on Proposition HH. This measure would provide property tax relief to struggling homeowners and businesses while maintaining funding for the crucial public services these taxes support. The relief is progressively targeted toward low- and middle-value homeowners. Further, Colorado’s chronically underfunded schools will benefit, receiving most of the retained revenue and bringing the state to the middle of the pack nationally. The additional funding to the State Education Fund will provide a buffer against K-12 cuts in case of a future recession. Homeowners and renters alike benefit from well-funded services, especially the public education system.

Ballot measure infographic on "Colorado Proposition II" regarding the retention of nicotine tax revenue.

Proposition II

Property Tax Changes and Revenue Change Measure

Summary: Proposition II, referred to voters by the Colorado legislature,  asks voters whether the state can keep additional revenue generated from Proposition EE. This measure passed in 2020 and  increased cigarette, nicotine, and tobacco taxes to primarily fund preschool programs. Although the taxes were previously passed by voters, TABOR requires voter approval to retain funding that exceeds initial projections. Proposition EE’s ballot language stated that the measure would raise $186.5 million in the first year. Actual revenue that was brought in was $208 million. If Proposition II is adopted, the state would retain $23.5 million, including interest, of already-collected Proposition EE funding to support Universal Preschool (UPK). If rejected, the already-collected revenue will be refunded to the wholesalers and distributors of cigarette, nicotine, and tobacco products. Additionally, if Proposition II is rejected, the Colorado Department of Revenue will lower existing and future cigarette, nicotine, and tobacco tax rates by 11.53 percent.

Recommendation: UPK is crucial to a community’s wellbeing and current programming needs more funding to be more impactful. Additional sustainable and equitable funding streams should continue to be considered by the state. However, retaining the additional revenue generated by Proposition EE will help the state achieve its goals to support as many children as possible in accessing high quality universal preschool. The Bell Policy Center recommends a YES vote.