Once-in-a-generation tax revenues are flowing into western Colorado coffers. How will communities invest?

A proposed ballot initiative for 2023 would impose a fee on all real estate deals to fund affordable housing

Jesse Paul
The Colorado Sun
People walk down Main Street on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 21 in Breckenridge.
Tripp Fay/For the Summit Daily News

On the heels of a successful campaign to direct Colorado income tax dollars toward affordable housing, a ballot proposal for Colorado’s 2023 election would impose a fee on every real estate transaction in the state to fund affordable housing. 

The Community Attainable Housing Fee ballot proposal submitted by an unnamed group last month to the Colorado Legislative Council would impose a 0.1% fee on all real estate deals in the state. It’s not a tax, said Dee Wisor, an attorney with law firm Butler Snow who submitted the proposed ballot initiative. A real estate transfer tax is prohibited under the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. 

“Since it’s a fee and not a tax, TABOR limitations do not apply,” said Wisor, who submitted the proposal for a client who will come forward once the proposal winds through the official title board process, which begins next week.

Wisor said the passage of Proposition 123 — which will direct as much as much as $300 million from the Colorado budget to affordable housing — as well as widespread voter approval on the Western Slope of additional lodging taxes for housing “gives me hope that voters would support this.”

The fee resembles a real estate transfer tax used by 12 western Colorado municipalities where voters approved the tax in the 1970s and 1980s before  the passage of TABOR in 1992. 


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