Letter: After reading both 2A guest columns, I will vote in favor of the proposed STR tax
It was very useful for the Steamboat Pilot & Today to publish both for and against guest columns on ballot measure 2A (Steamboat Springs’ proposed tax on short-term rentals) written by the respective supporting organizations in the same issue Oct. 13. I was struck by how the two positions, especially reading one right after the other, had such a very different focus, approach and even tone to them. What I took from the against 2A article, is that their focus is all on doing what’s in the best interests of short-term rental owners, most who do not live in Steamboat, and interests of the residents of Steamboat should come second.
The against article also took a page out of the political campaign playbook of throwing around lots of theoretical and made-up numbers intended to scare people into supporting their cause. It also put forward a false narrative that city staff and city council is rushing into a solution without thoroughly studying the STR and affordable housing issues and potential solutions, while the fact is there has been significant community feedback and outreach, analysis of data, talking to other mountain communities and studying and getting feedback on potential plans of action.
The for 2A article on the other hand, put the focus on doing what’s in the best interests of the community, both as a place for residents to live and thrive and to support a healthy tourism economy. It made a compelling case for what’s at stake in attracting and retaining teachers, nurses, firefighters, servers, cooks and other critical members needed to make a community work. It highlighted real data that shows Steamboat needs 1,400 additional homes just to meet the current local workforce demands. It painted a positive picture on this opportunity to make progress on what is a difficult affordable housing issue for Steamboat versus kicking the can down and missing the opportunity we have in using the proliferation of STRs as a source of revenue for the Brown Ranch infrastructure and other affordable housing projects.
I will be voting for measure 2A because I believe it is the right thing to do to preserve our neighborhoods and community, level the playing field between STR hotels and other businesses and help make progress on addressing our affordable housing crisis.
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