Feb 13, 2024

An expert in policy advocacy and coalition building, Chaer has dedicated her career to helping people meet their basic needs and expanding economic opportunity. She serves on the executive committee of the All Families Deserve a Chance (AFDC) coalition. Staff page ›

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CCLP testifies in opposition of a state income tax reduction

by | Feb 13, 2024

On Monday, February 12, 2024, Chaer Robert, CCLP’s Emeritus Advisor provided testimony to the House Finance Committee against House Bill 24-1065, Reduction of State Income Taxes. CCLP is in opposition of HB24-1065.


Thank you, Mr. Chair and Members of the Committee. I’m Chaer Robert and I am representing the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. We stand with diverse communities across Colorado in the fight against poverty. 

Since the reductions in the State Income Tax Rate from 5% to 4.75% in 1999, I would constantly disagree with those who said, “an across-the-board income tax rate cut benefits everyone.” While rate reductions are more broad-based than many special interests tax breaks, those with income too low to owe income taxes benefit not at all. For example, a couple earning under $27,700 per year would not get any tax reduction, since their income is less than the standard deduction for 2023. In fact, they lose most of any TABOR rebate they would get if this bill passed, since the $1.3 billion in reduced state revenue would reduce the TABOR refunds by 73% for the next couple years. 

Our main TABOR refunds are rebated through income tax filing for ease of administration but represent both sales tax and income tax collections. According to the 2022 Department of Revenue Tax Profile & Expenditure Report, the lowest income Coloradans pay the highest percentage (7.6%) of their incomes in state taxes, while those earning above $200,000 per year pay the lowest percentage of their income (4.1%) in state taxes, primarily because of our higher sales tax and flat income tax rate. 

Does this bill help older Coloradans? Since those of us over the age of 65 get extra income tax breaks already, older adults are unlikely to get net benefit from the bill’s passage:

  1. Seniors have a higher standard deduction. If a couple is both 65 years and/or older, their 2023 standard deduction is $30,800 instead of $27,700. 
  2. Coloradans pay no income tax on any Social Security earnings, effective with House Bill 21-1311. 
  3. In Colorado, the first $24,000 of retirement income for each individual is not taxed. So, individuals can claim the greater of Social Security income or up to $24,000 each in overall retirement income. 

This means a couple that is both 65 years and/or older likely do not pay Colorado income taxes unless their income exceeds $78,700. For an individual filer over the age of 65, their income would need to exceed $37,850. For most seniors, the main impact of this bill would be a much smaller TABOR refund. 

Please oppose House Bill 24-1065. 



Chaer Robert 

Emeritus Advisor 

Colorado Center on Law and Policy 


Update 2/13/2024: SB24-064 failed House Finance Committee on February 12th and has been postponed indefinitely.

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To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.


Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.


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The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

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Financial Security:
Colorado Works

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