Letter: Vote yes on 2A
Election Day is closing in and the board members of the Vail Chamber and Business Association would like to urge all Vail voters to vote “yes” on Ballot Issue 2A. The VCBA endorses a “yes” vote on 2A because locals need accessible housing. The people in our community make Vail a great place to live, but many of them, our teachers, firefighters, nurses, police, wait staff, sales clerks and other front-line employees, are being pushed out of town because they cannot find housing. Our community has been grappling with the issue of housing for over 40 years, and it is time to start taking a step in the right direction to being innovative and bold to make a difference. 2A will serve as a springboard to bolder and more effective strides in our local housing market.
Don’t think of 2A as a tax on Vail locals. Because food and groceries are exempt, most of the tax will be paid by out-of-town visitors, including those who own and rent short-term rentals. That’s who is paying this tax.
Regulating short-term rentals does not guarantee that the home will immediately revert to long term rental. Instead, as history has shown, it may just mean fewer lights on in town, again. Previous town of Vail economic studies demonstrate we want lights on in town. Lights on results in increased revenue from consumer spending. Spending generates sales tax. The 0.5% increase in sales tax creates deed restrictions. Locals, both year-round and seasonal, benefit directly from deed restrictions.
As for who benefits? Everyone! We all benefit when our valued local employees can afford to live and work right here in our community. Our quality of life depends on our local workforce. The best investor in your community is yourself. We need the funds that 2A will generate to expand our Vail InDEED program, which has already helped hundreds of Vail residents and their families find a home or stay in their homes. The funds will also support future housing developments like the redevelopment of Timber Ridge while protecting our parks, open space and the mountain lifestyle that we all know and love.
If we continue to do nothing, we will continue to get nothing. So, please consider voting “yes” on 2A to help our Vail community bring back more equity, inclusivity and diversity to town and its neighborhoods. 2A is not the be all, end all to our housing issues, but it is a step in the right direction to affecting change and making decisions that will have a positive, effective impact on our community for many years to come.
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Alison Wadey, Executive Director, Vail Chamber and Business Association