Denver Taxes Are Piling Up On The Ballot This November

If you live in Denver, get ready to see a whole slew of new Denver taxes on your ballot this fall.

Denver has been a pretty tax-friendly place to live. Friendly when it comes to passing taxes, that is. Citizens have approved numerous taxes in recent years. However, this year looks to be one for the books according to the Denver Post:

Campaigns are gearing up to pitch sales tax increases in support of several causes that, on their own, each sound noble. Already approved for the ballot are a City Council-referred sales tax increase to support more parks and an initiative by education, nonprofit and business leaders to fund college scholarships for the city’s youth. Initiative petitions for another tax that would support mental health and drug treatment programs now are under review, and on deck is the filing, in coming days, of petitions for a fourth tax that would raise money for healthy food programs serving at-risk children.

While Denver has passed several new tax initiatives in recent years, every city has its breaking point. Even the Mayor, who signed off on a few of the proposals, has his doubts.

“Just like at home, you may have 10 things you want to buy — but you realize that my resources just don’t go that far,” he said in an interview. “These are all priorities, and we’re going to have to, as voters, make some tough calls.” – Mayor Michael Hancock

If all proposed taxes are passed, the result would be an effective sales tax rate of 8.93%. This is an increase from the current 7.65%. Critics point out that while the increase may seem modest, it will impact lower-income residents disproportionately.

Here’s a partial break down of how the increased revenue would be spent:

  • 0.25% for a fund to acquire and maintain parks.
  • 0.08% for the Denver College Affordability Fund which provides for local scholarship organizations.
  • 0.25% for the Caring 4 Denver initiative which provides for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. ,
  • 0.08% for the Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids Initiative which provides school lunches and healthy eating education.


Depending on where you live, your tax rates will vary. That includes state income tax, local tax, sales tax, and more. If the slew of new Denver taxes passes, residents can expect a higher cost of living in Denver soon.

Thankfully, City vs City accounts for state and local taxes (including sales tax) when calculating cost of living. Our app uses real data curated at the zip code level to determine costs. Then, compare your costs with another city.

For example, here’s a look at the breakdown comparison between Denver and Seattle:

If new Denver taxes go into effect, the comparison above will change.  Although it’s hard to imagine any sales tax increase making the two cities equal, it helps to be able to visualize the differences in costs.

That doesn’t mean that if you live in Seattle you should move to Denver or vice versa. What it does mean is that it helps to know how your costs will change if you move to a different city. If you’re planning on moving, don’t make a move without downloading City vs City first.