Do you support the 1% local option sales tax for housing and transportation? If not, how do you propose to fund the goals set out in the Integrated Transportation Plan?
Candidates for Mayor
I do. And while I understand we all hate taxes, we also live in a place with great services, safe roads, and good schools. I don’t take that for granted. This election will NOT raise our taxes, but it allows for the community to focus on priorities instead of bells and whistles. The Town has made it very easy for voters to get accountability, by establishing a special fund for the general revenue penny. This means the money is easily tracked and will only be deposited into transit and housing budgets. It will not be possible to spend it on other things without public approval.
Absolutely – if we don’t pass that 1% local option tax we can forget about getting any of these things done.
Candidates for Town Council
Yes, absolutely. Having a steady stream of income that is built in makes a lot of sense – especially when we have budget cuts statewide and revenue is an issue. Visitors to our town pay the lion’s share of the sales tax – which does not include food – and we need revenue to mitigate the costs of their presence and to improve our housing and transportation situations. Additionally, we should charge people to park in town – and a novel idea suggested by a friend at the senior center is to have people get bike licenses/plates. There are many people who resent the pathways because they don’t use them and it’s only fair to ask bikers to contribute to maintaining the system. I’d be happy to get a bike license and/or plate, which would also solve the issue of ‘borrowed’ bikes!
I do not support the General Excise Tax increase. The parts of the ITP and the Workforce Housing Action plan that call for a steady stream of funding are flawed. Using public money to buy land at market prices and then trying to make it affordable for working people is doomed to fail. The proper way to expand the workforce housing stock is through density bonuses exclusively for deed restricted housing in the walkable urban commercial core. The transportation plan’s call for a blank check to fund START as a solution to our traffic problems is misleading. Right now START handles 1% of our traffic. According to the ITP in 20 years with full funding it will handle 3% of our traffic. START is an important piece of the puzzle, but not a game changer in our traffic problem. The claim that taxing and spending over $100,000,000 for START will solve the traffic issue is being used by development forces to “transit wash” inappropriate expansion of development.
The tax increase proponents are playing a shell game with SPET by letting it expire after the Budge Slide is paid for so that they can claim that the General Excise Tax increase is tax rate neutral. They are well aware that there is a backlog of SPET initiatives cued up in the tens of millions dollars, and SPET will come roaring back at the first opportunity raising our tax rate to 7% and making Jackson even less affordable for working people.
I support a Workforce Housing Overlay that will provide significant density bonuses exclusively for deed restricted housing in mixed use developments in the walkable urban commercial core. I support waiving the parking requirement for deed restricted housing in the Overlay. This will create significant demand for START and pathways.
Given the lack of proper vetting of the ITP and the Workforce Housing Action Plan by government and the media SPET is still the best way to fund community priorities with community input and oversight. I support using SPET to fund housing initiatives for public sector employees, such as the housing plan for the START bus barn. I also support using SPET to buy new buses for START.
Hailey Morton Levinson:
I support the 1% local option sales tax for our Community Priorities Fund.
Yes, it’s critical to making any progress on housing and transportation. State funding cuts have hurt the town’s capital projects budget, making it harder to build sidewalks, pathways and other infrastructure, let alone pay for major investments in transit. Overall, it’s a more effective way of funding town and county government, as in contrast to the lodging tax, the community has complete control over how the money can be spent. With the lodging tax, state law mandates that more than half the money be spent on promotion, which makes our housing and transportation issues worse.
Candidates for County Commission
I would like to see SPET explored to contribute to a funding source for housing and transportation. SPET funds will be earmarked by the voters and utilized for the specific purpose. As of now, 3 votes of an elected body can change a general sales tax designation, as can a vote of 3 at a regular budget meeting. This makes me nervous with the potential of budget cuts from the state and/or any county emergency that could arise and require monies from the general fund.
I absolutely support the Community Priority local option 1% sales tax. With state budget cuts continuing to come down the pipeline, Jackson Hole needs to take hold of its fiscal future by leveraging the roughly 4 million visitors who pay for nearly two-thirds of our local general revenue sales tax every year. In my opinion the only way to efficiently allow the government to focus on community priorities, make dynamic decisions and create solutions regarding transportation and housing is to have this steady revenue stream. If the 1% local option fails on November 8, our community stands to suffer a decreased quality of life by not having the proper funding for the health, safety and welfare services we have come to expect.
The current proposal lacks definition. We need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a more defined, concrete proposal that’s project specific before we implement a general tax increase. I want housing. I want traffic reduction. I support funding housing and transportation projects in our community through the use of SPET. That way the entire community gets a voice in which projects to support.
The role of government is to be honest, use common sense and safeguard the public’s trust. I think SPET is a good tool to ensure that happens. The money collected through SPET is legally bound to each specific project. In contrast, no future commission can be legally bound to spend general sales tax dollars on transportation and housing. In the end I support transparent, focused, and competitively bid projects.
Yes, I am a supporter of the local option sales tax. It is a more effective tool (than SPET) for dedicated funding of our transportation goals, and our visitors pay a large portion of it.