Letter: Vote ‘yes’ on Amendment B
Friends of Steamboat Springs, it’s that time of year again: voting season. For those of you still waiting for the perfect time to cast your ballot or are brushing up on the pros and cons of each candidate and issue, please allow me, on behalf of the Steamboat Springs Chamber, to encourage you to vote ’yes’ on Amendment B.
Last month, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Board of Directors voted unanimously to support Amendment B. The reason is simple: The Gallagher Amendment hurts our local businesses. A “yes” vote on Amendment B repeals Gallagher and helps our businesses.
The Gallagher Amendment is a 40-year-old initiative from the front range that harms commercial taxpayers, particularly in rural areas. Gallagher was meant to split the tax burden between residential property owners and commercial property owners almost evenly. But in the 40 years since its passage, Gallagher has become lopsided, placing increasingly high tax burdens on our small businesses. Rural areas like Steamboat are hit the hardest.
As residential property values increase, the tax burden on commercial businesses increases because Gallagher says that residential property taxes are capped at 45%. So what’s happened over the past 40 years is that residential property makes up 80% of the property value in Colorado, but residential property owners are only responsible for a maximum of 45% of the tax bill. Small commercial property owners have to make up the difference.
When commercial property owners have to make up the difference, our businesses suffer. The reason is that even if a business owner does not own their real estate, their landlord will usually pass along those taxes to the commercial renter. Those costs need to be made up for somewhere, typically as a pass-through to the consumer.
And there are other consequences: Our community is always thinking about new ways to fund things, such as schools, public safety, parks and more. With Gallagher in place, a proposed tax to fund these things means that commercial property owners pay nearly four times as much as residential property owners. When faced with a 4X tax measure, even well-meaning tax initiatives face an uphill battle simply because the numbers don’t work.
On behalf of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Board of Directors, I ask you to join us in voting “yes“ on Amendment B to repeal the Gallagher Amendment to support our local businesses.
Steamboat Springs Chamber board president
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