Editorial: Logic behind lodging tax

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A proposed 6 percent Craig city lodging tax — which would essentially trump a similar levy by Moffat County — could raise about $480,000 per year, city officials estimated.

If, as pledged, this money isn’t used to backfill the city’s general fund, the city lodging tax proposal should be set before voters in November, the Editorial Board contends.

As it stands now, Moffat County’s 1.9-percent lodging tax funds the Moffat County Tourism Association, an organization the Editorial Board believes has had mixed results at best.

MCTA has been marred by in-fighting, board troubles and has traditionally been unable to reach a consensus on which events to fund and how to best market our area.

If the city moves forward with its lodging tax, it could hinder MCTA’s future.

However, that might not be a bad thing.

The Editorial Board believes that if MCTA can’t be productive with its lodging tax money, it’s time for someone else to have a shot.

The idea for the city’s lodging tax came from city council member Terry Carwile, who suggested the levy as a means of off-setting declining sales tax revenue and energy impact grants.

A draft proposal of the lodging tax, presented earlier this week during a joint city council and county commission workshop, indicated the tax money would be used for tourism promotion and event funding.

Both of those areas make sense as uses for the funding. In fact, just about everything about the tax has made sense.

So far, the city’s lodging tax idea has shown few flaws: It provides a means to an end, has little impact on the finances of local residents, and opposition has been minor.

So, what’s the biggest hurdle?

Only one — does it have enough public/voter support?

There’s one way to find out, and that’s by putting it on November’s ballot. The city has taken the proposal to the goal line. Other than ironing out a few wrinkles, there isn’t much to be done.

It’s up to voters to put the proposal in the end zone, and then for the county and MCTA, suddenly without its primary funding stream, to decide what its role will be in the future.

Comments

eieiolrighty 4 years, 5 months ago

I believe we should use this lodging tax for a rec center.

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als362 4 years, 5 months ago

I must agree with eieiolrighty, using a lodging tax to build a rec center would build it basically for free. It would not cost the residents here anything, as long as it is done with some smarts and the money is saved until it can be paid for in cash. Then as long as membership fees and admission fees are the only monies used to keep it open, I am all for it.

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GreyStone 4 years, 5 months ago

Why not have the people who will ultimately be paying the lodging tax vote on whether or not to have a lodging tax ? We might pass a law that prohibits that tax from being passed on to the customer and require the proprietor to eat the increase as business expense rather than drive away more tourists with higher lodging fees.

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als362 4 years, 5 months ago

I doubt that most of the lodging customers that will be paying the tax actually live here.
I don't think they can vote unless they live here.
The people that own the lodging establishments, will merely be passing the tax on, not paying it. I can't believe the city council is so stupid as to put the kind of burden on a business owner that would require them to not be able to pass this on to the customer.

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GreyStone 4 years, 5 months ago

als362,

I think you just described the new taxes our politicians will implement to pay for the new Health Care plan. Politicians voted on it but will not be paying for it like we will.

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als362 4 years, 5 months ago

I am starting to think that GreyStone does not have a clue.

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GreyStone 4 years, 5 months ago

OK, never mind. No point talking to a brick wall.

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Walter 4 years, 5 months ago

We should tax everything. We should tax twice. We should tax three times. Wait... That already happens every day. Our income is taxed. Then the leftover money we earned is taxed again by consumer taxes. Also, the people selling us the goods are taxed for property, stocking goods, and for income. Let's tax everybody who comes to town who doesn't live here so that they can pay for our rec. center. Where does it end? There is no free will in this tax except that people who may visit Craig can choose whether or not they want to pay more for a visit here. The economy is in a recession and we want to increase taxes on a luxury item, i.e. tourism in Craig. We should expect that the invisible hand will cause potential tourists to room in other, more attractive locations, which do not have such taxes. If you want a rec. center maybe you should foot the bill of it by donating $4,000,000 like a wealthy group of individuals did to Colorado School of Mines. Besides, haven’t you been to the Trapper Gym here in town?

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als362 4 years, 5 months ago

To Walter; Just to let you know, I DO NOT want a Rec Center. I believe it to be a monumental waste of money. But I am also opposed to any tax that I have to pay to build one. This tax would be paid by people that do not live here. That is the ONLY reason I am for this type of tax.

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