Michelle Krasilinec: Vote ‘Yes’ on 2B to Regain Seats, Secure Our Economy

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Visit www.yes2air.com for more information on Referendum 2B, its impact and how Steamboat residents can volunteer to regain seats and secure our economy.

— Election season is in full swing, and residents are being asked to think about how tourism affects their lives and what having visitors in town stimulating the local economy is worth to them. At issue is Referendum 2B, the proposed 0.25 percent sales tax to fund nonstop winter air service into Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

As community members, we all rely on tourism. Referendum 2B is tied directly to the quality of life we all enjoy here in Steamboat Springs. Every sector of our economy benefits. It is for these reasons that the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association board of directors voted unanimously in support of Referendum 2B.

Here are some facts to consider about this program:

■ Each winter visitor who flies directly into the Yampa Valley Regional Airport spends about $1,100 while in town. Of that $1,100, about $860 generates $72 in sales tax that supports the community services we all desire.

■ The number of seats in the air program has decreased almost 30 percent from 163,000 during the 2007-08 winter season to 118,000 in the 2010-11 season while revenue guarantees for airlines have increased.

The loss of 45,000 seats equates to a loss of about 31,000 passengers and $35 million to our local economy. The proposed air program will get airline seats back to about 150,000 in the next five years. Those regained seats mean renewed economic activity for our community, which means more jobs for our residents.

■ Every 9,200 passengers generate 100 new jobs in the community.

■ Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. will continue to commit as much as $1.1 million per year to the program, and its funding will be first in. Ski Corp. also will continue to spend millions marketing and promoting the flights, our resort and our community.

■ The 2 percent lodging tax will continue to support the air program on top of the 1 percent accommodations tax that goes to support our recreation district.

■ About 50 percent of all city sales tax revenues are generated by visitors, and half of this new tax will be paid by visitors.

■ The proposed 0.25 percent sales tax increase means you will pay 25 cents additional tax on each $100 of goods purchased. In a typical year, an individual will pay an additional $15 to $20.

■ The Referendum 2B tax increase is for a five-year period, after which the tax will expire.

“We can’t control the world economy, but we can control our own destiny here in Steamboat,” said Loui Antonucci, chairman of Steamboat Citizens to Regain Seats & Restore Our Economy, the committee leading the charge to vote “yes” on 2B.

Steamboat businesses benefit from the air program directly and indirectly. Below are some examples of how businesses and the community benefit:

■ Through continued sales tax revenues provided by visitors, the city is able to fund the majority of the services utilized by the community.

■ Retail merchants, their employees and their service contractors benefit from the visitors.

■ Those who travel will continue to enjoy direct flights outbound from Steamboat Springs to major cities throughout the country.

■ Steamboat Springs remains accessible for second-homeowners who utilize the air program.

■ Service providers such as taxi and ski rental companies, travel agencies and their employees benefit from visitors.

■ Restaurants, entertainment venues and their employees benefit from visitors.

■ The public will benefit by continuing to have an air program as part of its economic business model. Loss of the air program will have the gravest of consequences to Steamboat’s economic health and quality of life.

One common misconception is that the sales tax revenues are going directly to Ski Corp. Sales tax revenues will be held by the city of Steamboat Springs, not Ski Corp. Funds will be managed by the Local Marketing District, which is a public entity. This is not giving money to a corporation; this is investing in our community and its future.

This campaign has been a grass-roots effort with many hours logged distributing print material and meeting with community members to educate them about the air program and the proposed 0.25 percent sales tax. The economic impact on Steamboat and the convenience of direct air service for our winter visitors are indisputable. We ask for your support by voting “yes” on Referendum 2B.

Comments

Scott Wedel 2 years, 6 months ago

And look at the make up of the LMD board - full of Ski Corps, Chamber and others that have their own marketing programs. It is a complete conflict of interest and not public oversight in any sense of the phrase.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 6 months ago

  1. When will we stop comparing things to 2007?

  2. If adding more seats at a few million equals an extra 35 million being spent in town, why don't we just TRIPLE the amount of seats and rake in the cash? I have my suspicions the numbers don't add up.

  3. I don't care that second homeowners will have better access at cheaper rates to come to town. Maybe we should put a limousine tax on the ballot so they can have adequate transportation back to their mansions. Poor rich people.

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 6 months ago

If 50% of sales tax is spent by visitors than the other 50% is spent by locals. And each individual will spend about $20 extra a year in sales tax. Steamboat has a population of about 12,000. That comes to $240,000. This tax is supposed to generate 1.3 million annually. Where does the other million or so come from? What am I missing?

Are they saying population doubles in the winter?

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 6 months ago

Well, I believe that local sales probably includes county residents which would bring the total around 23,000.

Chamber and Ski Corps will always compare to 2007 when they want to show the need for something to increase tourism. The joke of 2007/8 vs 2008/9 is that 4,000 less seats carried 14,000 fewer passengers. So the Chamber's argument on seat availability requires believing that those 4,000 lost seats carried an average of more than 3 passengers each.

And even if they win then I think it won't take that long for LMD to realize this tax because of their campaign promises was a disaster . While they get the tax for five years, they have no right to the "vendor fee" money that the City has traditionally given them. And after the first year has many fewer tourists than promised then it won't take long for the public and the City Council to ask questions about what was the LMD's internal projections vs their public promises. And that will be the end of the LMD being a club of Ski Corps and the Chamber and reforming it to become appointed by the city council. Or the city refuses to give them the "vendor fees". And then Ski Corps is stuck trying to sell renewing the tax after being shown how much they lied in the first place.

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cindy constantine 2 years, 6 months ago

Hey Scott W, when can I vote for you for council? You have truly missed your calling in life if we cannot elect you to run our city coffers.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 6 months ago

"The economic impact on Steamboat and the convenience of direct air service for our winter visitors are indisputable."

No, actually that is the center of the dispute. The one thing that is indisputable is that the pro tax campaign has been seriously distorting the facts.

And Cindy, I'd quickly enough alienate everyone including you.

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