October 10, 2018
It’s hard to advocate for a tax. Much less two.
However, we at the Saratoga Sun feel that both the One Percent Sales and Use Tax (also known as the 5th Penny Tax) and the Two Percent Lodging Tax should overwhelmingly be passed once again.
It is not often a state with a small population has an opportunity to fund infrastructure improvement or vital services with a good portion of out-of-state monies. Roughly a third of the One Percent Sales and Use Tax is paid by visitors to Carbon County.
Honestly, this sales tax goes largely unnoticed by anyone since Wyoming’s base sales tax is low to start with.
The One Percent Sales and Use Tax (5th Penny Tax) goes towards funding police, fire and ambulance services for ALL Carbon County communities. Those funds, which generate roughly $6 million a year in county revenue, also endow a myriad of necessary endeavors.
Senior centers get funding from this. Mosquito control is boosted with these funds. Street maintenance, sewer improvements, town beautification, emergency services and library maintenance are all areas that have benefitted from this innocuous tax. Capital equipment has been purchased and parks have been improved.
These are all laudable projects that improve the quality of our lives while actually costing us, personally, very little.
Two Percent Solution
The other tax that will appear on your November ballot is the Two Percent Lodging Tax.
This is a tax paid only by those who stay in Carbon County hotels and motels—and the majority of those people are visitors.
It is extremely doubtful that anyone would not consider staying in Carbon county over a two percent addition to their bill—especially given that these types of taxes are commonplace around the country.
Funds garnered from this program help fund the Carbon County Visitors Council, The Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce and all the activities those organizations fund.
In what becomes a positive cycle, those activities (The Saratoga Steinley Cup and the Ice Fishing Derby, King Coal Days, Museum events and many, many more) bring visitors to our county. Those visitors, in turn, bring more funds to the county which are then spent to attract even more visitors to our neck of the woods.
Since tourism is the second largest industry in Wyoming (with Carbon County being the third most visited county) investing in this industry just makes good sense.
In 2017 Carbon County saw 761,000 overnight visitors who spent $170.6 million, which totaled $9 million in travel-generated taxes. Those taxes also help support Carbon County jobs.
Working in Tandem
When infrastructure is built and maintained by funds from the One Percent Sales and Use Tax it makes our communities more attractive to visitors.
When visitors have a high opinion of a place, they return—or even consider a more permanent relocation.
When visitors become residents, our property values increase.
When visitors stay longer they spend more money which in turn allows us to make our county more attractive and accessible.
These two taxes work together—whether they were initially designed to or not.
Since the voting public of Carbon County pays just a portion of these taxes and they do so much good, we at the Saratoga Sun wholeheartedly support both the One Percent Sales and Use Tax and the Two Percent Lodging Tax.
We urge you to vote “yes” on both of these Nov. 6.
Apparently it isn’t that hard to advocate for a tax or two.