Time Machine Tuesday: Property Tax

Unlike income tax, Colorado has had a property tax since the state was founded — provisions for a property tax were made in the original state constitution.  In 1877 and 1899 the Legislature tweaked the property tax laws to equalize values.  Then in 1902, a major property tax law was passed, resulting from the significant economic depression of the 1890s.  A special session of the legislature was held in 1902 to address the issue and it established the law requiring all properties to be assessed annually.  Then, in 1910, during an era of reform, a Tax Commission was established.  You can find the annual reports of the Tax Commission in our library.

Laws were continually tweaked over the years, but the next major property tax law overhaul came in 1964.  A dozen years later, Colorado State University held a tax law symposium, “Property Tax:  Why, Where, and What Next?”  The “primer” for the 1976 program, available in digital form from our library, discusses the history of property tax in Colorado and major legislation, along with a discussion of the property tax in our state.  This is an interesting snapshot of tax laws as they stood nearly 40 years ago and provides an interesting comparison with today’s property tax laws, many of which are rooted in the laws passed during the early years of statehood, one hundred years prior to the report.