Friday, September 13, 2013

Argue facts, not fiction

    There’s not a business in the Wood River Valley whose owners will ever show up before a meeting of any of the city councils and present their general ledgers—the record of their income, expense, profit or loss. The records are private, known only to the owners, their bankers and accountants, and the Internal Revenue Service.
    But even though public numbers exist that demonstrate the overall performance of the local economy, one member of the Sun Valley City Council is ignoring them.
    City Councilman Franz Suhadolnik has said he questions claims that the local economy is struggling. In one recent meeting, he pointed to the large attendance at the Sun Valley Wine Auction Picnic to claim that the area is awash in money. He also recently questioned claims that the Beaver Creek Fire had dealt a disastrous blow to local businesses.
    However, local option sales tax reports show that local businesses were damaged by the recession, and it’s a good bet that August tax reports will show serious revenue losses as a result of the Beaver Creek Fire, during what should have been the peak business month of the year.
    The national recession reduced local option sales tax revenues in the city of Sun Valley from a peak of $1.57 million in 2007 to $1.24 million in 2012, a 21 percent decline. In Ketchum for the same period, LOT revenues dropped from $2.19 million to $1.76 million, a 20 percent drop.
    The local area lost a significant number of jobs and businesses as a result.
    The numbers say clearly that businesses and the local economy have suffered. This isn’t a matter of belief; it’s a matter of fact. To claim otherwise flies in the face of reality, and wrongly insults the integrity of local business owners, managers and the organizations that represent them.
    Elected officials should be informed by facts, not fiction.

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