Editorial: Vail fails to show need for tax | VailDaily.com

Editorial: Vail fails to show need for tax

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Vail’s proposed sales tax on construction material does make sense.

Odds are, buyers already pay the tax and the money goes to the municipality where they made the purchase. Under state law, that money would come instead to Vail if the town had the tax. Might as well have money the buyer must spend anyway benefit the town where the construction occurs, right?

And despite builders fussing about such a tax in Vail, it hasn’t crimped the pace of construction in fast-growing Eagle or Gypsum, which impose the same tax.

Does Vail really need the revenue? Ah, different question.

Town officials walk a fine line between explaining that the funds for operating the town are healthy and showing a shortfall in funding for public building projects that is projected to run about $25 million short of accomplishing everything on their list.

They bristle a bit when questioned about the need for some of their spending out of a budget that runs fully half of the county government’s. This ain’t Minturn, where government truly is starved, for those interested in what that Republican model actually looks like.

It’s hard to tell if the relatively few voters who show up at the polls this year will look at Vail’s proposed sales tax as a useful tool or as a referendum on town spending habits.

What would the revenue be used for? Projects like street improvements and the West Vail fire station, which would benefit the town. The vote should be yes based on that, and the low cost to taxpayers.

The tone deafness of the Town Council voting itself a raise this fall with hands out for more taxation is a little distressing, though ” however token the cost. There’s a real reflex to say no as a message.

When proposing a new tax, a government must show the need for it. By sending a mixed message, however inadvertently, Vail has not made the case.

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board

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