G.H. “Bud” Romberg: LMD worth passing
October 29, 2004
I want to express my support for Ballot Issue 2A, the Local Marketing District, even though I am unable to vote for it.
For those who are not familiar with it, the LMD would impose a 2 percent lodging tax, the proceeds of which would support airline guarantees for summer and winter flights into Hayden, and it can be voted on only by the residents within the boundary of the LMD.
Opposition to this LMD, according to articles printed in the Steamboat Pilot & Today, is based on two arguments. The first is that the residents of the entire city should be able to vote, and the second is that this should be postponed until the report from the Finance Advisory Committee, constituted by the City Council, has been presented.
I am a great believer in “no taxation without representation,” and would support the argument for a citywide vote if all residents in the City were paying for it. A couple of years ago, that opportunity was given to the residents in the 3-2-1 proposal, and the residents soundly turned down that opportunity. The authors of the LMD have listened to the reasons for that vote and have proposed this so that only those who have lodging accommodations in town pay for it. So unless locals are staying at one of the local lodging establishments, no locals would be paying for this, and therefore, there is not justification for a full city vote.
I am also a believer that those who benefit should pay, and in this regard, all of us will benefit from the revenues raised, whether we are owners or employees of a tourism-related business. Besides having access to more flights out of Hayden, and perhaps lower fares because of greater competition, we benefit from amenities the city is able to fund because of the sales tax revenues from these visitors, so we will benefit without having to pay for it.
We all have had the opportunity to see what negative effects a downturn in sales tax revenue have brought to our community in the past couple of years. Waiting another year or more to look at this proposal could have dire consequences with respect to the economy of our valley.
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This proposal has taken the concerns raised by the community with the unsuccessful 3-2-1 proposal and addressed them. This measure deserves to pass, and if it is passed, it will be a benefit to us all.
G.H. “Bud” Romberg