penry-joshThe Colorado Supreme Court yesterday upheld a freeze on property-tax rates for school districts advocated by Democratic Governor Bill Ritter, a ruling that left many Republicans grumbling.

The 6-1 decision concluded that the 2007 freeze of mill-levy rates–which should have fallen as property values increased–does not violate the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), writes the Denver Business Journal. For school districts, the tax has meant about $118 million, and Ritter called the ruling a victory because the schools are already facing hefty budget cuts.

Five of the justices are Democratic appointees, giving Republicans plenty of ammo to criticize the decision as partisan. State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry (pictured) of Grand Junction says “loyalist” Dems, who control much of state government, have put TABOR on “life support” (via The Denver Post). Attorney General John Suthers, also a Republican, tells Legal Newsline that the court wrongly upheld a tax increase without voter approval.