Dave Wallace: 2A exemptions place unnecessary burden on community
Once again, our community is faced with a ballot measure asking voters to approve an increase in the city sales tax. Referred Measure 2A is presented as a 1.75 percent increase; this is 0.5 percent greater than the 1.25 percent increase that was rejected earlier this spring in our local election. The additional 0.5 percent is directly related to the exemptions that exclude the local lodging industry and automobile/ATV sales.
The revenue adjustment related to these exemptions will result in an estimated $650,000 annual loss. The residents of and visitors to our community will be forced to make up the difference.
Let us now refer to the Daily Press article of July 14, in which our City Council weighed in on the November tax measure, specifically, a comment made by Councilman (Derek) Duran: “If we don’t exempt, I am fine with 1.25 percent. If we do exempt, we’ve got to bump it up …” The “bump up” concerning the lodging industry is directly related to the 4 percent tax increase levied on them in 2015. This tax was promoted and presented to the voter as the tax that will be of no cost to the residents. Looks like there may be a cost after all; have we been duped?
Also, concerning is the fact that the lodging levy has a sunset clause and will expire in 2025, Measure 2A, if passed, will continue indefinitely. How convenient. Is this an oversight, or could it be a sleight of hand? As for the automobile/ATV sales, businesses that provide fair and competitive prices do not need tax exemptions. This exemption has no fundamental justification and is in total disregard to the rule of law in our country, where taxes should be levied and enforced fairly and equally between all entities. Approval of 2A will increase the level of sales tax we pay to an unacceptable rate of 8.9 percent, greater than that of any of our neighboring communities.
I am supportive of an increase in the city sales tax, as long as it follows the rule of law and is reasonable and justified, and as long as the city not only establishes, but also demonstrates quality business standards. I cannot support a ballot measure in which exemptions place an unnecessary burden on the entire community in order to benefit a few.
I agree the lodging industry has been shackled with an extremely high taxation levied against them using methods that I believe were in conflict with the founding principles of our country. The lodging tax is taxation without representation. Those involved in the decision are not those affected by the outcome.
Rather than include exemptions on Ballot Measure 2A, would it not be reasonable to repeal a portion of the lodging tax? As far as the automobile/ATV sales exemption, I mentioned before there is no fundamental justification. This is a classic example of the proverbial dangling carrot, benefiting only a few, while increasing hardship on the less fortunate families within our community. Ballot Measure 2A is not in the best interest of our entire community.
Finally, let’s drop the intent to undermine Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution. In the event of over-collected revenue, providing there is a reasonable and justified request for retention, I believe our community would be more than willing to provide the necessary approval.
Once again, I encourage all registered voters to look closely at all available information concerning the upcoming ballot measures, be your own person, get out and vote and, please, don’t be a poster voter.