Survey shows strong support for a sin tax in Steamboat Springs
June 23, 2017
Steamboat Springs residents would likely support adding a new tax on alcohol and marijuana sales to generate more dollars for city government, new survey results show.
Residents also indicated they like the idea of increasing the city's lodging tax or instituting a new tax on lift tickets as other ways to raise government funds.
About 47 percent of full-time residents who responded to the city's latest community survey said they strongly support the idea of a new "sin tax," compared to just 13 percent who strongly opposed it. Another 29 percent said they somewhat supported a tax on the substances.
By comparison, residents were cold to the idea of a property tax, with 59 percent of survey respondents stating they were either somewhat or strongly opposed to that funding source.
Survey respondents were most turned off by the idea of an increased sales tax, with 65 percent of full-time residents expressing opposition to the idea.
After a sin tax, an increased lodging tax garnered the strongest level of support, with 41 percent strongly supporting that idea, and 36 percent somewhat supporting it.
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A new lift ticket tax came in third on the survey, earning some level of support from 57 percent of full-time residents.
The survey was sent randomly to 2,000 households in the city limits.
An additional 500 surveys were sent to second home owners who live in the city only part time.
The survey asking residents to weigh in on prospective tax questions comes as several community groups are still considering going to voters with tax measures aimed at funding everything from Howelsen Hill preservation to marketing to affordable housing.
The survey should raise the spirits of a new community group that tried unsuccessfully last year to get the Steamboat Springs City Council to put a sin tax on the ballot.
Council members passed on the ballot question because they felt the city shouldn't be the champion for the tax question, which would have asked voters to approve an additional 2 percent tax on the sale of alcohol, marijuana and smokeless tobacco in the city limits.
In December, leaders of the Rx Task Force said they were working on a new proposal to bring to the council, possibly as soon as this year.
Funding from the tax revenue would go toward substance addiction prevention and treatment in a community that has been hit hard by a national opioid addiction epidemic.
“The next big step is to try and figure out how to put a budget together for where we need funding,” Rx Task Force founder Mara Rhodes told Steamboat Today in late December. “There are so many places where the money could go.”