Letter: Opposition to 9% STR tax is tone-deaf to working-class struggles
I am a proud member of the working class with ties to this area dating back to childhood. I gave up the rat race in the city and the hope of owning in a town like Steamboat in favor of working for those who could while living in an outlying area. I don’t resent that arrangement until I hear the upper-class residents or second homeowners kvetching about the cost of subsidizing housing and services for low-income workers.
The worst was reading recently in a letter to the editor that a resident is less likely to support Brown Ranch because it would “banish low-income residents to a compound.” Wake up Steamboat! If you are upset by the cost of subsidizing spaces and services for the people who provide services to the town and the tourists or if you are upset by loss of the cultural diversity that accompanies class-diversity, then you are out of touch.
The down-to-earth-cowboy-skier culture primarily exists now in the form of nostalgic wall-art in the short-term rentals that I clean every day. Most of my employees have never been skiing.
I support the proposed 9% short-term rental tax because a decrease in nightly rentals might actually make it possible for me to have a day off this winter. I’ve been turning down business or cutting back for 2.5 years while prospective employees leave the market because they don’t want to sleep in their car or drive from Craig.
We need a sustainable infrastructure for the working class, and yes, it will require Steamboat home owners, second homeowners and tourists to chip in a disproportionate amount of cash to float the Boat, so to speak. But the working-class people of Steamboat and outlying areas have been keeping it afloat for years with their time and energy while living with other families, friends or in their cars, or by commuting 70-plus miles a day to work.
We support the town and tourism by showing up to work (these days working overtime to make up for shortages) while relegating recreation to the off-season. The beauty and wonder of this area is most evident in what people have sacrificed to live here and not in the value of a house in Steamboat. When we forget that, we demean the people who work hard to make this town a place worth visiting.
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