Letter: 2A is not the right way for Steamboat to invest in housing

As a former City Council member and local business owner, I want to express my disappointment with ballot measure 2A and Steamboat Springs City Council for putting it on the ballot. This tax increase is not the right way for Steamboat to address its affordable housing needs, and I believe voters should reject 2A.

During my time on council and as a local employer, I focused on making Steamboat a great destination for visitors. We know that skiers and other visitors have a lot of choices in Colorado and the West to spend their vacation dollars. That’s why we have worked on marketing Steamboat as a world-class destination. Part of that marketing included having great accommodations that were affordable to all levels of visitors.

Unfortunately, 2A will nearly double the lodging tax on many of Steamboat’s key lodging properties and possibly put them out of reach for many visitors.

What I don’t understand as a former council member is why the city chose to put 2A on the ballot. The city’s staff recommended a much more modest tax rate of 1% to 3%, but council tripled that number to 9% — without working with the lodging community to understand its full impact on these businesses and their customers.

City Council also rejected a more modest, community-wide approach to funding affordable housing that had the support of the lodging industry and other local businesses. This alternative proposal, which combined a reasonable lodging tax with a local sales tax, would have allowed a community-wide investment in our housing needs.

There’s no question that we need more housing for local employees, and that our community needs to invest in that housing. But 2A is not the right way to do it. Please vote no on 2A.

Loui Antonucci

Steamboat Springs

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