Letter to the editor: Kingdom of Breckenridge linguists define tax vs. fee | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Kingdom of Breckenridge linguists define tax vs. fee

Taryn Brooke

Kingdom of Breckenridge linguists were recently summoned to clarify the definition of taxes. By definition, a tax is a compulsory contribution made by someone paying the tax (who are taxpayers). Linguists added that taxpayers and voters can hold different meanings, but often, these are the same people performing multiple functions (paying for taxes and voting for people).

Linguists clarified that if there is not a direct give-and-take relationship between the kingdom and the taxpayer, then it is a tax. For example, if the kingdom were offering something unique, like a complimentary trash service for taxpayers who paid a bedroom charge, then this would be a fee. If the kingdom offered complimentary coffees to all the guests in exchange for bedroom charges, then this would also be a fee. Yet, when there is no direct promise of anything specific in exchange for this charge, such as Breckenridge’s bedroom fee, the kingdom has instituted a bedroom tax.

Can taxes come in the form of a percentage rate or a fixed rate? Yes, for ages taxes have come in multiple forms: fixed rate, percentage rates, rates tied to a mill levy, etc. These are all taxes.

Do taxes require the people’s vote? King George III did not believe this was consistently required. In a representative democracy like the United States, most citizens view the right to vote on taxes as a precious matter, too fundamental to be conditioned. After all, taxes that are truly guided by people’s interests would withstand the voting process, wouldn’t they?

Breckenridge’s bedroom charge is a linguistic game intended to fool its own people and suppress voter rights. Politicians should rescind the kingdom’s fee and respect people’s right to vote on matters of short-term rental taxes, just like any other tax.

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