Our View: Educate yourself on sales/use tax measure
March 18, 2017
Noelle Leavitt Riley — newspaper representative
Andy Bockelman — newspaper representative
Terry Carwile — community representative
Dan Davidson — community representative
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.
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.