Vail Daily letter: Present whole financial picture
After just reading the letter regarding the proposed tax increase associated with 3A and 3B submitted by Alex Young, I am compelled to concur regarding the issue of full financial disclosure. This letter is neither an endorsement of, nor an indictment against, proposals 3A and 3B. But I do feel that when presenting the case for these tax increases, that the whole picture needs to be presented, specifically as referenced in Alex Young’s letter, the effect on commercial properties. Thanks to the convoluted Gallagher Amendment, commercial properties would bear a hugely disproportionate share of these tax increases, and this fact seems to be omitted from virtually all discussion I hear and/or read about these proposals. Being a small-business and commercial property owner, these tax increases, coupled with the mill levy increases already approved earlier this year, would impose a substantial and noticeable cost on my business. And as a small-business owner, I cannot simply absorb these, but would have to pass these on either wholly or partially in the form of higher prices. And if it were that easy, then that is what I and many other business owners would do. But it is not that simple; customers always have the choice of choosing not to pay higher prices, or going elsewhere — perhaps shopping in Denver. Bottom line — it is less money I have to reinvest in product and equipment, marketing and paying our employees.
Perhaps equally important, and especially in light of all the recent discussion about the lack of affordable housing, these proposals would both serve to make housing even less affordable. Owners of rental units will likely raise rents even higher to cover their increased costs. And businesses that rent their space will also experience higher rents, as the increased property taxes will simply be passed on via adjustments in CAM (common area maintenance) expenses. So too will those businesses be faced with the same dilemma vis-a-vis commercial property owners regarding raising prices to their customers.
So in the interest of full financial disclosure, I urge everyone to view and digest the full picture when considering these proposals. It is not simply a moderate tax increase on their house, but hugely disproportionate tax increases on commercial properties, and the commensurate increase in rents, pricing, etc. that go along with them. If you feel that these proposals are worthy in light of all of the tax and price increases, then I say, “great — go for it.” Having two kids currently in the school system, my wife and I are very strong supporters of the school district, and we have a great deal of respect for the many teachers, coaches and staff that are responsible for the critically important task of educating our children. Just make sure that you have the whole picture in front of you so that you can be educated and knowledgeable before making your decision.