Clark Davidson: 2A not fair
October 29, 2018
Any tax collected is our money to determine how we think it should be spent. Referendum 2A asks us to subsidize Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.'s airline program.
Ten years ago, the program was funded partly by Ski Corp. and, mostly by tax dollars — lodging taxes. With the recession in 2010, Ski Corp. asked us to pay an additional sales tax to fund this air program; a program Ski Corp.'s business plan requires, whether or not we contribute. We chose to contribute.
Now, during a healthy economy, they want us to contribute again. Why? Did they mismanage our money? If not, show us the money. The proponents claim that "reserves" will run dry in 2019. What "reserves?"
Each year, the air program is funded by Ski Corp. dollars, lodging tax dollars, and recently, sales tax dollars. Since 2008, shouldn't we be provided a total of those dollars contributed to the fund annually. How much the fund spent on airline seats that Ski Corp. didn't fill and the remaining balance in the fund?
Although I can't find the money trail, I can find the load factors on the seats guaranteed. And those numbers show that just because more airline seats are available, doesn't mean more people.
We contributed additional sales tax dollars during the recession, what did we get in return? Ski Corp. charges our retired citizens more, kids are no longer free and there are no breaks for family and friends who come visit. I don't consider 25 percent off a $160 daily ticket a "bargain.”
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Our lift lines are longer than ever. Ski Corp. makes about millions a year. Why are we subsidizing their business?
We provide a free transit system that is a huge subsidy to their business. We provide significant goodwill in our friendly town. Nearly every major ski area has a lift ticket tax, not here.
When Breckenridge recommended a tax to help pay for their transit system, Vail immediately sat down and offered $3.5 million toward Breckenridge's transit system. Instead, we are offering our Ski Corp. millions in sales tax dollars for their airline program? What do we think, they can take their business to another community?
Ask why our hardworking fellow community members, making $10 to $20 per hour should pay a sales tax, when buying food at the grocery and clothes for our children, to subsidize the richest corporation in town?