Our View: Educate yourself on sales/use tax measure

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The city of Craig says it’s hurting so badly financially that it needs voters to pass a sales tax and use tax to help bolster its bottom line.

Editorial board

Noelle Leavitt Riley — newspaper representative

Andy Bockelman — newspaper representative

Terry Carwile — community representative

Dan Davidson — community representative

As stated in a recent Saturday Morning Press story, the proposed 1.25 percent sales tax increase would bring Craig’s city sales tax to 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, the use tax would apply that same 3.5 percent tax rate to vehicles purchased outside of Craig, which are currently not assessed any local tax.

The story also stated that Craig’s current sales tax is 2.25 percent compared to Steamboat Springs at 4.5 percent, Rifle at 4.25 percent and Hayden at 4 percent. Another equation exists also — two state legislators are proposing a state sales tax increase of .62 percent.

Additionally, if the state sales tax of .62 percent passes along with Craig's proposed sales tax increase, Craig hotels sales tax actually would jump to 14.92 percent.

It’s difficult for many voters to understand why the city needs more money, so we feel it’s important for community members to educate themselves.

So often, uneducated voters pave the way for measures to pass or fail based on perceived truths that overshadow actual reasons behind initiatives.

We challenge readers to find out and ask those at the city what is and isn’t going to be cut if the measure doesn’t pass.

If it doesn’t pass, does that mean we’ll lose our community swimming pool? What about the wave pool? That has meaningful value to our community. Will it close if the measure doesn’t pass?

If you look at the city’s personnel cuts, you’ll see the city is trying to balance its budget.

“The largest cuts have come from slashing those nine positions — including four police officers — and delaying or cutting back capital expenses, namely Parks & Recreation projects and Road & Bridge vehicles,” stated last week’s story in the Saturday Morning Press.

The people who really know these issues know that the cuts that were made were necessary, as was putting the ballot measure to voters in April.

Another telling fact in the sales/use tax debate is that seven people running for city council and the two running for mayor are in favor of the initiative.

It’s very rare that you’ll have all candidates running for office in favor of a tax measure.

So we invite the community to reach out to those running for office, and to those currently in office, to better understand why our city needs additional funds through the sales/use tax initiative.

Comments

Mark Jacobson 1 month ago

Craig has lost roughly 1500 people over the past ten years. Asking us to raise taxes to make up for the people who left does not sit well with me. The city needs to scale back and that's just the reality of the situation. The wave pool didn't keep those 1500 people, the swimming pool didn't keep those 1500 people, Kmart didn't keep those 1500 people, Safeway didn't keep those 1500 people, the power plant didn't keep those 1500 people, and here's where I shoot right across the bow.....the SCHOOLS sure didn't keep those 1500 people!!!!!!!!!!

If anything the schools are about to cost this area even MORE dearly. Then the city politics have the gall to ask us to tax ourselves more for more of the same?

Then it's the way 1A is setup, 3 highly important issues rolled into one ballot measure. Tabor, sales tax, and use tax. I'd have been ok dealing with the tabor and sales tax issues, and in fact I support raising the sales tax. Rolling it in with the use tax and tabor was a huge mistake. I'm sorry this offends you, editorial board, but you are very much out of touch with the reality and gravity of the situation in Craig.

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Tim Kjera 1 month ago

I couldn't agree more with you Mark. This ballot initiative should have been written as 3 different measures. I would have voted for a sales tax increase, but not all 3, so I'll vote NO.

One of the justifications they have for putting the Use Tax back on the ballot again and again is that Grand Junction has a Use Tax. One of the things that Grand Junction has, and that Craig will never have, is competition. Joe Bird thinks that we need a flat tax for on-line purchases too, as if we don't pay enough in taxes already. If you want to compete with on-line sales, try taxing something that isn't sold on the internet, like Recreational Marijuana.

This proposed increase in taxes might have the same effect as raising water rates did, even less tax revenue when people shop on-line or out-of-town. When water rates were increased, water usage went down, resulting in less revenue and a less attractive community. Time to raise those water rates again because....well it worked so well last time didn't it?

Try growing this community and the tax revenue will increase along with it. Keep raising taxes and you'll just tax it to death. Vote NO.

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