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Amendment E explained: Reducing property taxes for Gold Star spouses

The amendment would extend a homestead exemption to those who lost their spouses in the line of duty, or from a service-related injury or disease.
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An amendment that appears on Coloradans’ ballots for the Nov. 8 election asks voters about property tax breaks for Gold Star spouses.

Amendment E would allow spouses to exempt from taxation 50% of the first $200,000 of their home’s value.

The tax breaks would go to spouses of U.S. Armed Forces members who died in the line of duty or died from a service-related disease or injury.

The current homestead exemption in Colorado is offered to those who are ages 65 and older and have lived in their residence for at least 10 years. The current exemption is also offered to veterans who have a permanent disability as a result of a service-related injury. 

There were 266,538 people ages 65 and older who claimed homestead exemption last year, in addition to 9,016 veteran claimants, according to data from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Division of Property Taxation

The new amendment would expand the benefit to Gold Star spouses, who would receive, on average, a tax reduction of between $480 and $630 each year, according to the 2022 State Ballot Information Booklet.

If Amendment E passes, which would require 55% of the vote, the state would reimburse counties for the cost of the homestead exemptions. The funds would bump state spending by $288,000 in the 2023-2024 state budget year, according to the ballot booklet.

Here’s the question as it appears on ballots:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the extension of the property tax exemption for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans to the surviving spouse of a United States armed forces service member who died in the line of duty or veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease?

As of Monday morning, there were no registered issue organizations against Amendment E, but opponents have expressed concern that the proposal reduces taxes only for Gold Star spouses who can afford to own homes, according to the state ballot booklet.

The amendment was referred to the ballot unanimously by state lawmakers. Primary sponsors of Amendment E include State Sen. Paul Lundeen and State Rep. Cathy Kipp.

“Amendment E is a statement that Coloradans will not forget the families left behind by those who offer the last full measure of devotion for the ideal that is America,” Lundeen said.