"Tax exemptions are always a way for money to stay in the pockets of the citizens.”
— Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner about approving tax exemptions for specific items
The Moffat County Commission voted Tuesday to enact county sales tax exemptions on renewable energy components, beetle wood products, school-related sales, farm equipment and the occasional sale by charitable organizations.
The commissioners delayed voting on other items the state now exempts from sales taxes, such as food and utility sales, until they have a better idea of the impact those exemptions would have on revenue, a move supported by Craig city manager Jim Ferree.
Commissioner Tom Gray said he eventually would like to have discussion about every item up for exemption.
“Tax exemptions are always a way for money to stay in the pockets of the citizens,” commissioner Audrey Danner said. “We’ll consider the other exemptions then ask that the new commissioners do the same, with a conversation with the city council so we can determine which ones are appropriate for our community.”
The commissioners decided to exempt sales of farm equipment from taxes in an attempt to help local dealers.
Gray said in speaking with local dealers in the area in the past week, they had a tough time competing with businesses in Wyoming and Utah who have no sales tax.
Although a small percentage, the county tax makes a difference on a machine worth thousands of dollars Gray said, adding it’s not a long drive to cross the border into Wyoming or Utah.
“A few of the tax abatements are considered small investments for an entrepreneur to build a business here in Moffat County,” Danner said. “I see that as a real bonus to our community.”
Gray said he felt comfortable with the items he and the other commissioners voted to pass.
“I think they were ones that were not going to have a big impact on the budget of either the city or county, but would be beneficial to certain entities or businesses and allow them to compete on a more even playing field,” Gray said. “They were the appropriate ones to pass today. There’ll be more research on the ones we didn’t and hopefully they’ll be looked at more closely in the future.”
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org