Don’t impose room tax on visitors to Rifle
We at the Rusty Cannon Motel strongly oppose the imposition of bed tax on the people who choose to stay a night or 29 nights in Rifle. There are a number of considerations:1. The business of municipal government is to provide streets, water sewer, storm drains, fire protection, police protection, parks, and municipal courts. When city government enters the business of attracting business, it goes beyond these original purposes and meddles in the fee enterprise arena. Do other city governments involve themselves? Yes, too often, but their action doesn’t make it right. We have all heard from our children or students, “everybody else is doing it,” to which our response is something like, “that doesn’t mean it is good.”2. The guests who stay in Rifle are 75 percent energy-business related and are here developing a tax base, whose windfall this city experienced this past year. It seems to me that a room tax becomes a penalty on those who while staying in Rifle, away from their homes, are building lasting benefit for Rifle.3. Private business builds as it cultivates new customers. The businessmen of Rifle will advertise, expand, renovate, (all of which we have seen during recent times) in order to build their businesses. A room tax will not enthuse or stimulate enterprise. Desire to grow business is the motivator in America. We at the Rusty Cannon struggled for a number of years with our business after the infamous Exxon pull out. To clean rooms, good service, quality control and friendly hospitality we had to add other inducements such as the golf packages that we partner with the Rifle Golf Course to offer out-of-towners. We spend money advertising in golf publications and Web sites because we need additional customers. A penalty tax on our existing customers would not have been effective in expanding our business.4. The people pushing for this tax/penalty can name city after city in Western Colorado that imposes a bed/room tax. The person who views the glass half full might sell to potential Rifle guests that, “we are one place who doesn’t impose extra tax on you stay!”5. Customers who feel appreciated spend more time in town, spend more money in town and come back more often.If our overnight guest were a drain on our municipal resources then I would be for a penalty tax but in fact our guests keep an unusual number of eateries, clubs, gas stations, grocery merchants, and other service facilities such as the Rusty Cannon profitable and sending in their sales tax payments. Let’s treat them with appreciation.Robert M. Cross is a partner of the Rusty Cannon Motel in Rifle.
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