Paul Hughes: The rest of the story

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Your Question of the Week for last week asked if changes should be made to Steamboat Springs’ tax structure. The result: 54 percent said yes, while only 32 percent said no. Yet neither your news story last week nor your editorial even mentioned the dissenting opinion from the Tax Policy Advisory Board’s final report. Fully half of the TPAB membership signed on to a recommendation that the voters be asked if they would eliminate the city’s 4 percent sales tax on food in exchange for a small property tax that would raise the same amount of money.

The dissenting opinion reasons that the current sales tax on food is unfair; that an equivalent property tax would finally ask second-home owners and businesses to pay their fair share for city services; and that the city’s sales-tax-only tax structure depends too much on constant growth and increased tourism to be sustainable.

In deciding not to mention the dissenting opinion, the Steamboat Pilot & Today has done a disservice to what appears to be a majority of your readers who would like to see a different tax structure. I urge you to either reprint the dissenting opinion in its entirety or provide a link to it so that readers might have all the facts.

Paul Hughes

Member, Steamboat Springs Tax Policy Advisory Board

Comments

Scott Wedel 2 years, 6 months ago

In a perfect world then it might make sense to have a mix of property tax and sales taxes that don't include food (or utilities).

But it seems pretty obvious that having a sales tax means that attempts to increase revenues are limited to increasing the sales tax. A property tax to remove sales tax on food would obviously just be a stepping stone to a property tax to finance police and fire services and whatever else.

And it would get creamed at the ballot.

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