Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tax complaints ignore the facts

Events that draw visitors to the Sun Valley area are critical to its economic health. Today, in the wake of five years of national economic uncertainty, events are more important than ever.

The Sun Valley City Council recognized that again this week when it allocated a tiny portion of its local-option sales tax revenues to support various local events.

With the allocation, the city also recognized that every measure of local financial stability, including business incomes, employee salaries and property values, depends upon a stable supply of visitors to fuel the economy.

Other manufacturing, engineering and software businesses and independent web-enabled workers also depend upon that supply because the tourist economy creates the lifestyle that attracted those companies and workers to the area.

The cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley underwrite key events and with local-option sales taxes paid primarily by visitors. Reinvesting a portion of those taxes in marketing and events is sensible because by attracting visitors, the events in turn boost local sales tax revenues. The area would be much poorer culturally and economically without the lineup of events over the year.

Ironically, so would the property owners who show up periodically to complain about directing property tax dollars to events. They miss the fact that revenue from the local-option sales tax reduces their tax burden because it relieves property owners from being the sole support of infrastructure that serves a population that spikes periodically with the addition of visitors. Property taxes would be nearly twice as high without the local-option sales tax.

To use the tax solely to reduce property taxes would be foolish indeed.


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