McCaffrey: Vote no on lodging tax

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To the editor:

It has been a very interesting process for the Lodging Tax 2B to be placed on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The lodging industry (15 hotel, motel, and campground owners) gave a petition to the Craig City Council saying the proposal is not fair to those who collect the tax, and that a large increase in such a downward economy in Northwest Colorado was not good business sense.

Perhaps voters should drive by several of our establishments and see how few visitors we currently have in Craig.

The many business owners in Craig should ask themselves if they would vote to an increase on their products and services to 6.9 percent, along with the current city, county and state taxes.

The 2010 first and second quarter lodging taxes of $52,790.59 are down 38 percent from the same quarters of 2009 of $72,627.36. The anticipated third quarter lodging taxes will probably reflect the same downward trend.

Visitors do use our streets and amenities within the city. They also support several restaurants, markets, gas/diesel stations, box stores and the downtown area.

Based upon many conversations with visitors, the use of a convention center, community recreation center or any capital expenditure built by the proposed tax would not be on the top 101 list of things do in Craig or Moffat County.

I don’t believe that the failure of the Moffat County Tourism Association to accomplish all things for all people should be the reason for voting yes on the proposal.

The Denver Post in Tuesday’s paper gave an update of where Colorado will be economically in the near future. The news wasn’t good. I think we should work to bring in as many visitors as possible without increasing the tax, and continue with the 1.9-percent current Moffat County lodging tax.

As we all send in the postcards to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission so our 450-plus coal miners don’t lose their jobs, we should all think about the impact to 19 business owners employing many county residents, by increasing the lodging tax to 6.9 percent.

With the taxes of the city, county, and state added in, we would have the largest tax base in Northwest Colorado with 14.05 percent. Today and for the future, we need to make sure we give the biggest value to our visitors and advertise that fact.

We are competing with a resort town 40 miles east of us, and they usually have businesses and restaurants available seven days a week, including weekends and holidays, and project a visitor-friendly environment.

Save our jobs and save our economy. Vote no on 2B.

Patricia McCaffrey

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