Denver’s ready to show where your tax dollars and cents go

Answer a few questions about your income and spending, and Denver’s new tool will spit out a receipt that estimates how the city is spending your taxes.

A "tax receipt" from the city of Denver.
A "tax receipt" from the city of Denver.
A “tax receipt” from the city of Denver for a hypothetical taxpayer.

A new website from the city of Denver will put the city’s finances in very real terms for you. Answer a few questions about your income and spending, and the new tool will spit out a receipt that estimates how the city is spending your local taxes.

It’s a pretty engaging new way to visualize city spending. It shows, for example, that a homeowner who makes $75,000 and owns a $420,000 house might pay $1,300 in local property and sales taxes.

Of that sum, about $3 would go to the City Council and Mayor’s offices, $16 to affordable housing, $160 to social services and $446 to capital projects, such as bike lanes and playgrounds.

However, it’s important to realize that this excludes state and federal money. For example, while our hypothetical taxpayer is only paying $2 in local taxes toward homeless services, the federal government also provides tens of millions of dollars for local service providers each year.

Anyway, dig in and email me with any questions or observations about the city budget. I’ll answer a few in further coverage.

And if you want a much deeper look at city spending, check out the annual financial report. Page 21 has a detailed breakdown of expenses by program. 

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.