Editorial: Logic behind lodging tax
April 10, 2010
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.