DEAR EDITOR:

Please vote no on Ballot Issue 300. A tax on short-term rentals (STR) is bound to have a negative impact on our community, the local economy and the creation of more affordable housing.

A tax of 2.5 percent on short-term rentals causes many potential unintended consequences, however, the most striking concern is how narrowly focused this proposed tax is. Why only tax short-term rentals? The shortage of workforce housing in the area is a complex problem requiring a series of comprehensive and well-thought-out solutions. Implementing a sales tax, for example, would make far more sense since this would cast a wider net with potential to generate more revenue by relying on the community and visitors, as a whole, not just one part.

And why are we only specifically targeting guests staying in town? It might be unpopular to say out loud, but our entire economy rests on tourism. Even if we are not directly employed in lodging, dining, retail, with one of the guides/tour companies or on the mountain, we are still linked inextricably to tourism, and rely just as much on our visitors as those industries do.

Maybe most importantly, why is the Town of Telluride not working on a revenue stream from all of the local governments (Telluride, Mountain Village and the county)? If we only tax Telluride STRs, the obvious result will be to send guests to Mountain Village STRs. This will affect all Telluride businesses, not just Telluride lodging.

We need to act together as one community to solve the very real problem of the shortage of affordable housing. An STR tax does not achieve this. Vote no on 300.

James Smith

Telluride