Judge promptly dismisses lawsuit over Gallagher Amendment repeal

The proposed repeal of the Gallagher Amendment, a significant potential fiscal reform for Colorado, can proceed to the ballot as written by lawmakers, a judge ruled Friday.

Opponents of the measure — including former House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst and Dennis Gallagher, the former state senator for whom the policy is named — had alleged in a lawsuit that lawmakers inappropriately edited the descriptions of the repeal measure that will be printed in the voter guide the state sends out to voters.

Arguing that the edits would mislead voters, the opponents had sought to delay the printing of the guide, which is known as the blue book. Following the dismissal of their suit by Denver District Court Judge Martin F. Egelhoff, the blue book will now proceed to printing.

The edits were made by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and the legislative champions of the repeal, Sens. Chris Hansen (D-Denver) and Jack Tate (R-Centennial) had characterized the lawsuit as a political stunt to damage the repeal measure.

The Gallagher Amendment is a nearly 40-year-old state fiscal device meant to limit residential property taxation by forcing businesses to pay a higher property tax share. It has dramatically lowered Colorado’s residential property tax rates, but that has cost local governments and schools.

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