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Colorado taxpayers will receive $400 this summer. Here’s how some plan to spend theirs.
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Gov. Jared Polis announced a $400 rebate for Colorado taxpayers April 25, 2022, at the Colorado State Capitol.
Credit: Governor Jared Polis, Facebook

DENVER — Menah Elsarrag can pay off a small portion of her student loans. Diane Hopkins can drive to Southern Colorado to visit her family and explore the outdoors. Anne Tincaid can put more money toward a vacation in Mexico, where she hopes to go snorkeling.

These are just a few of the ways Coloradans plan to use the $400 coming their way this summer.

Gov. Jared Polis announced April 25 that Colorado taxpayers will be receiving a cashback rebate later this year. Individuals will receive $400 while joint filers will get $800. The money will be sent out between late August and early September, Polis said.

“We know that this last year has been difficult with rising prices,” Polis said in a news conference announcing the action.

The money comes from a clause in the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which gives the state legislature power to determine how to refund excess tax revenue to those who pay it.

“This is Coloradans’ money, and we’re making sure that we make government efficient in getting those dollars back to them as soon as possible,” House Speaker Alec Garnett, a Democrat, said in the news conference. “These checks will help people immediately.”

The money would have come to Colorado taxpayers in April 2023, but Garnett, Polis and Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno emphasized that the money is coming now because Coloradans are being hit by skyrocketing rent costs, difficulty buying homes, inflating childcare costs and higher gas and food prices.

“Instead of the government sitting on the money, we want to make sure we get it back to people now,” Polis said. “Rather than sit on this money, we know the $400 will help people now.”

While $400 would certainly help, many Coloradans interviewed Monday by Rocky Mountain PBS said the $400 may not go as far as it used to, as inflation has hit the entire country hard the last several months.

“It’s better than not having an extra $400, but it doesn’t go far enough,” said Thomas Law, a Denver resident and a service worker at Union Station. “It’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things, as an adult in Denver.”

Law said his rent is about $1,600, which is a price he would have expected to pay in New York City, but did not feel it was warranted in Denver.

As a full-time restaurant server, Law said tips are his most reliable source of income, and with increasing costs of food, his restaurant has seen fewer visitors than it used to. Those who do patronize the restaurant often tip less than they once did, Law added.

“We heavily rely on people coming in and buying things and tipping, and with everything getting more expensive, people are coming less often and they’re tipping less often,” Law said. “It’s definitely an issue and I think something needs to change.”

Others said they would take the $400 as a small victory, even if it wouldn’t cover much. 

“Being a teacher, we get summers off and I like to do some little trips, but I'm thinking it's not going to happen this year because gas is so expensive,” said Diane Hopkins, a Thornton resident who works with adults with disabilities. “I could probably go get myself some nice flowers, though.”

Though the money may not be much, Logan Gunnum, a Denver resident who is unsheltered and saddled with medical debt, said it would be a lifeline for him.

“The first thing I would do is make sure I had a steady place to live, and that way I could get the rest of my life sorted out,” Gunnum said. “They talk about how there are all of these different services and things for people in my position, but there really isn’t.”

Coloradans can expect the money to be sent to the address they used to fill out their taxes.


Alison Berg is a multimedia journalist at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at alisonberg@rmpbs.org.

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