DENVER (KDVR) — It’s known that Colorado housing is unaffordable. An initiative that’s one step away from being on the state ballot looks to make those prices more affordable, but opponents say the way supporters want to do it does not make sense for Colorado.
While everyone is still on a high about getting their Taxpayer Bill of Rights refunds, some are warning voters about how the affordable housing measure could impact those dollars in the future.
“The Make Colorado Affordable ballot measure is an attempt to take on what we know is the state’s biggest crisis right now, which we know is affordable housing,” said Mike Johnston, CEO of Gary Ventures, a supporter of the effort.
“This puts $300 million a year, every year, into affordable housing for people that we know need it the most,” Johnson said. “People up to about $100,000 on income, based on the neighborhoods that you live in, could be able to access housing that would be guaranteed to be affordable.”
Housing measure would pull funds from TABOR cap
Supporters said if approved, 170,000 new affordable homes and rental units would be built statewide. While many agree that housing prices need to come down, some are warning it will take away money from the extra general funds that generate TABOR rebates, like the ones most Coloradans are set to enjoy soon.
“Each year it’s different on how much revenue the government brings in and how big the refunds are going to be,” FOX31 political analyst and Republican strategist Michael Fields said. “They were very big this year. They’re not necessarily going to be every year. But the key with this ballot measure is that it is a certain percentage of income so it’s going to grow over time. It’s $300 million now, but it’ll be more later on. I think we just need to start talking about housing in a different way.”
Supporters said they took the TABOR surplus into account and they do not think it will take a big hit from this.
“The estimate from the Legislative Council is that it may be a $43 cut total to your refund so maybe a $750 refund, it could be a $710 refund. The state could continue to give out refunds each year and this would not affect that ability,” Johnston said.
Supporters say there is a strong interest in affordable housing. They were able to get 100,000 extra signatures for the measure, but opponents want them to look at another funding source to solve the problem.
Colorado ballot initiatives still pending before deadline
Right now, just two ballot initiatives are confirmed for November. One would reduce the state income tax and the other would decriminalize some psychedelic drugs.
Another 10 initiatives are gathering signatures. The initiatives cover a wide range of topics including alcohol sales, campaign spending limits, and changes to Medicaid and utility billing. The deadline to turn in signatures for verification is Monday, Aug. 8.