Letter: Consider this before passing new taxes on short-term rentals
I’m a second home owner and part time resident at The Ranch condominium complex, taking exception with the spokesperson for House Our Community who stated that short-term renters are “running commercial operations and do not pay commercial property tax like I do for my business.”
This is their justification for quadrupling the proposed tax on STR’s? This is the only and singular tax initiative launched by City Council to finance Steamboat’s unquestioned need for more affordable housing. Thus, this tax is targeted squarely at second homeowners and part-time residents who are unable to vote, and their guests, to solve a decades-old problem in Steamboat.
Consider the following as it relates to fellow second homeowners blessed and fortunate enough to own property in this lovely town. When purchasing our homes, we utilized local relators, lenders, title companies, and insurance companies, which were paid with funds that were earned outside of Steamboat, but spent in this community. Those of us in multi-unit complexes pay sizable HOA dues to management companies headquartered or operated in Steamboat.
Although we live in this community part time, these dues are paid throughout the year. We pay our utilities and property taxes locally and every month. When renting our homes, up to 35% nightly rental fee is extracted to pay for services provided by local folks. We may indeed make some money housing guests in Steamboat who otherwise wouldn’t have a place to stay when visiting here. However, it’s dramatically overstated categorizing us as “running commercial operations.”
After paying all expenses, sometimes, but not always, there’s “taxable income” remaining. Personally, last year there was. We purchased a larger smart TV from the local Walmart, repainted our unit with paint purchased in town, remodeled a bathroom with supplies purchased locally and hired local contractors to do the work. My rental “profit” paid for the paint and TV. The balance was paid with income generated outside this lovely community but spent here.
House Our Community is supporting and promoting a “singular tax” solely on the backs of fellow second homeowners and our guests. I hope this more balanced perspective helps voters understand how unjust this tax is. There are certainly other more equitable ways for this community to come together, via taxation, to address the housing shortage. I’m certain second home owners will gladly pay our fair share.
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