Lift-ticket tax could help with transportation
April 18, 2009
BRECKENRIDGE ” A tax on Breckenridge Ski Resort lift tickets could provide needed revenue for town parking and transportation, but it’s uncertain whether voters would support the tax increase.
Breckenridge officials recently received a report regarding potential for a lift-ticket tax from a task force formed earlier this year.
“I think all of us are pretty curious about it,” town Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron said of the tax. “It’s been done in other communities.”
Because passes like Epic and Colorado are valid at multiple resorts, a flat tax such as that used at Crested Butte Mountain Resort wouldn’t be feasible.
The town of Vail receives a 4 percent reimbursement based on the number of people scanned. The ski-season revenue ” which has exceeded $3 million ” goes primarily to transportation and parking, according to the report.
Some 40 people surveyed from Breckenridge businesses responded 60-40 against a tax, with those against it stating the economic recession and ability to use the tax as a bargaining chip among reasons for their opinions.
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Those in favor wanted the tax to be for something specific ” particularly parking, transportation and marketing.
Town Councilman Dave Rossi said that with the resort’s plans for Peak 6 expansion and the community’s vision for 2030, parking and transit could become a “serious problem.”
“We don’t have the money to just go and build parking structures left and right,” he said. “It is important we start to plan where those revenue sources are.”
Breckenridge resort CEO Lucy Kay said in an e-mail that the resort “currently funds services, like transportation and parking, that in many ski communities are totally covered by the municipality.”
“Along with most of the local business community surveyed, I don’t believe now is the right time for this type of discussion,” she said.
Resort towns of Steamboat Springs, Aspen and all of California do not have taxes on lift-ticket sales.
Park City, Utah has a 7.4 percent lift-ticket tax divided among local, state and county.
Breckenridge town leaders have discussed the lift-ticket tax numerous times in the past several years.
Bergeron said its more likely action would be taken now “than maybe three years ago when we were flush.”
“In this time in our budget when we’re really hurting and having to look at the reality of perhaps cutting services … this could be used to shore up the transportation budget,” he said.
Town revenues were down 18.8 percent in February, and it’s likely council will face a decision this May between cutting services or dipping into reserves.
Because of state tax laws, a lift-ticket tax would have to be put on the ballot, either by petition or government.
“It’s the mood of the voters, and I don’t know what that is right now,” Rossi said.
He said that if a lift-ticket tax were approved, he’d prefer it not cost more for Summit County residents ” because the impacts to parking and transit will be primarily from the Front Range.
Robert Allen can be contacted
at (970) 668-4628 or