Effects of a lift tax not fully considered
I don’t think the proponents of a Breckenridge or even a Summit County lift tax have fully considered all of the ramifications of this proposal. Who do they expect to pay this new tax? Some of the articles or letters I have read expect the tax to be added to the price of each lift ticket. Others seem to want Vail Resorts (VR) to keep the price of the lift tickets the same and just pay the tax to the town.Some suggest the average dollar amount for this tax is $0.98 per ticket. To simplify the math lets round this to $1. What did Breck have in skier days this year: 1.4 million? So we would have an extra $1.3 million in the town coffers. Sounds good, right?The idea of corporations or businesses of any kind paying taxes is a myth. Businesses do not pay taxes. Individuals pay taxes. A business is simply a conduit by which the government collects tax money from individuals. Taxes are paid either by the owners of the firm, the customers or the employees. That’s it, there is no other place for the tax revenue to come from.If the sales tax is added on top of the price of each lift ticket or hidden inside a ticket price increase, then the customer is paying the tax.If VR pays the tax without increasing ticket prices, then either the owners (stockholders) or the employees pay the tax. I have not looked at VR’s annual report but I seem to remember a loss of several million dollars for the 2002-03 fiscal year, so I do not think the “evil empire,” as some of you seem to regard VR, as being in a position to cover this as I don’t think the bra tree under the Falcon chair is also a money tree. Nobody I know, including business owners, works for fun and profit is their pay. So the employees are left to cover this new tax. VR just hires 100 fewer people this winter than normal rather than cut everyone’s pay. The loss of jobs would affect the whole community. Jeff Citron’s July 5 letter covered many points about the loss of revenues to the local economy and what could happen if VR decided the Breck ski area is too much trouble.This tax could possibly cost the Summit county economy more than the town of Breckenridge would receive in the tax increase.What is most disturbing are the letters, such as Carla Zinn Rigger’s on July 7, who are gung-ho for the tax for don’t cite a specific purpose for the revenue. They seem to want to use the police power of government to confiscate money from those who have rightfully earned it. Carol Rockne, the person pushing for the tax, only cites the money should go to the general fund, not a specific purpose.
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