Kara MasonKara MasonDecember 22, 20172min741

While Republicans were busy this week defending their new tax plan and the impact it will have on the middle class, Pueblo County is offering seniors and the disabled a deal in paying off their property tax.

The county is promoting a program that allows those over 60 years old or who are disabled to volunteer in exchange for money that can go toward their property taxes. The program started nearly two decades ago and lets 250 people who qualify volunteer at 44 different programs across the county.

County officials say the program is a good resource for seniors and the disabled in Pueblo, not necessarily because there is a high rate of that population not paying property taxes.

Pueblo County Public Information Officer Paris Carmichael told Colorado Politics less than 1 percent of homeowners don’t pay their property taxes. But for those who qualify, there are a plethora of volunteer opportunities, from thrift stores to helping other seniors and hospice care.

And while the program may seem unique, a few other places across the state and nation have adopted something similar.

In Massachusetts, seniors can get up to $1,000 off their property taxes in exchange for volunteer hours.  And in Cherry Creek Schools in the Denver area, there’s also a program. Seniors may earn up to $457.05  based on 55 maximum allowed paid volunteer hours once every 12 months, and one payment per property, according to the district.

Washington D.C. think tank The Tax Foundation took a look at a program similar to Pueblo’s in 2009 and said it wasn’t sound tax policy because it’s still considered taxable income.

“We favor broader bases and lower rates, meaning that when possible all income should be taxable, even income earned by senior citizens, so that the tax rate can be as low as possible to minimize economic distortions,” the foundation said.


Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinMarch 21, 20175min401

Here's a whatever-happened-to update: If you remember Martha Ezzard from her time as a Colorado legislator, you should probably check out the story in the Denver Business Journal. A couple of decades ago, Ezzard and her husband, Dr. John Ezzard, moved to Georgia to run an Ezzard family farm. They turned it into a pretty successful winery and are now selling it and moving back to Colorado. Welcome back, Martha and John!


Tom RamstackTom RamstackNovember 11, 201610min278

The Obama administration recently gave an unintentional boost to opponents of government-subsidized health care, such as Colorado's proposed amendment for universal health insurance that failed voters' approval this week. Affordable Care Act insurance premiums will rise an average of 22 percent in 2017, according to a White House announcement. The act, also known as Obamacare, was supposed to lower the cost of health insurance when it was enacted in 2010.