Not all taxes are the same for Aspenites | AspenTimes.com

Not all taxes are the same for Aspenites

It was not my intent to denigrate the good work of human services, just to point out the property tax burden placed on longtime locals living on a fixed income. According to the Colorado Department of the Treasury website, "Fifty percent of the first $200,000 in actual property value is exempt from property taxation" for seniors 65 and older. That is like pissing in the wind given Aspen's extraordinary property values. There also is a state deferral program if I want to let my children pay my taxes for me. The state Property Tax/Rent/Heat Rebate limit is a mere $13,234 and of little use in Pitkin County. The local Low-Income Senior Tax Relief Program caps income from all sources at $29,700 for individuals, just a little over the average social security income. I would be very interested to learn how many people are actually able to take advantage of this local program, particularly if they are long-term homeowners. I would encourage local representatives to look at this program and make sure that it works as intended. I believe the current limits are much too low given the high cost of living in Aspen. I am, unfortunately, not in a position to vote for any tax increases, regardless of their merit. To sum it all up, old-time property owners can stay poor or leave rich.

Jim Markalunas

Aspen