Many people in the area may have forgotten or not know that the original lodgers tax was proposed, supported by and designed by local lodgers. It was to be used as a means to generate revenue and reinvest into the promotion and marketing of the region. The tax was never meant for nor has it ever been used to generate money for the citys general fund
The proposed 2.5 percent increase to the lodgers tax is just another back-door attempt by the city to raise revenues for the general fund. This is not the time to increase taxes on travelers just as the tourism industry is beginning to recover. What is not mentioned in any of the articles or the Heralds editorial (Dec. 16) is that this tax is in addition to the existing 7.9 percent sales tax. The additional 2 percent lodgers tax brings the current tax rate to 9.9 percent; the purposed increase would bring the total a traveler pays for lodging to 12.4 percent. To claim that visitors will not notice a 12.4 percent added tax to their lodging bill underestimates the climate of todays economy. To assume that visitors will come to the area no matter the cost is simply naive. The more travelers have to pay for lodging, the less they spend in shops and restaurants, affecting the overall sales-tax revenue and dollars spent locally.
Also assumed is that all lodgers are tourists. To not acknowledge the support that business travelers bring to the areas lodging industry is an oversight. They have the choice to lodge in Farmington any time the cost of a nights stay in Durango becomes cost-prohibitive.
The Herald needs to be reminded that taxes are not to be increased as if they were an expected annual pay raise. The increase in revenue should be generated by increasing the local economy, the number of people who visit the area and increasing the dollars spent. Please reconsider this tax increase. This is not the time or the proper funding mechanism to generate money for the arts.