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Fact Check: Tipton on Pace and homestead break

By Charles Ashby

UPDATE: Seems some folks don't believe Tipton voted against funding for the homestead exemption.

To understand what happened, readers must do more than just trust what House Speaker Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, writes on Twitter. Rather, it's best to go actually look at the debate on the last day and second-to-last day of the 2010 session, when lawmakers last voted on this issue.

Here's what happened:

The bill came forward on second reading the day before the last day of the 2010 session. At that moment the bill was to suspend the entire exemption, $94 million a year for two years.

The Rep. Jim Reisberg, D-Greeley, offered an amendment to fund half of the exemption. Along with him, Republicans spoke in favor of it, some Democrats spoke against it. Then Rep. Kathlene Curry, D-Gunnison, was in the chair, and approved it on an overwhelming "division" vote of legislators. That vote required supporters of the amendment to stand and be counted. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle did so.

Moments later, even though the bill at that point funded half of the exemption, Republicans spoke out and then voted against it.

The following day, the last day of the session when it came up for thirds, Reisberg offered a third-reading amendment that corrected a drafting mistake in the second reading amendment from the day before. The amendment was essentially the same thing. It passed unanimously, 65-0, with Tipton and McNulty and everyone voting for it.

Moments later, Tipton and the Republicans voted against the bill, a bill that, at the time of that vote, funded half of the exemption for seniors.

Ultimately, the Senate rejected the House version and voted to adhere to the original bill ... a two year delay of the exemption. It being late in the session, the House agreed, on a partisan vote with Republicans voting no.

Not funding the exemption has been supported by both sides over the years because of economic conditions.

 

In a campaign email today, GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton chastises state Rep.Sal Pace, D-Pueblo and his 3rd Congressional Distirct challenger, for "consistently" voting to end the state's senior property tax exemption.

In that email, Tipton's campaign says, "Unlike in previous years, a valuable property tax exemption for seniors will remain in tact (sic), thanks to an unexpected surplus. That also means that, unlike in previous years, our opponent will not be able to raise taxes on seniors. Sorry Sal."

While Pace did vote along with other lawmakers in 2009 and 2010 not to fund the property tax break during those years because of the recession, so did Tipton, at least in 2010.

That year, when Cortez Republican still served in the Colorado Legislature, he voted along with all 65 members of the House to approve SB190. Unlike the 2009 measure that suspended the break for one year, the 2010 bill did so for two years.

The Tipton camp also makes the mistake of calling not funding a tax break an increase in taxes, and they say the state has a "surplus." According to Websters New World Dictionary, a surplus is something over what is needed. State revenues are still far below what they were before the recession began.

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