Free-market owners penalized | AspenTimes.com

Free-market owners penalized

Dear Editor:

As a follow to my recent “Kool-Aid accounting” letter about the rental-tax issue, my apologies to all, especially the planning department, if all the details were not 100 percent accurate, which I now realize were not.

The point of the communication was meant to have been that over the years, I have observed legislation in this valley that made those who own free-market property the constant target for higher taxes, sticker-enforcement policies, etc., and down zoning while the government expands seemingly at will.

Not all people owning free-market properties are wealthy. In fact many of the owners, I would bet, have fewer financial assets than their peers in the deed-restricted units. Many have had to struggle over the years to buy and then live in their “free-market” properties. It would be helpful if the councils and commissioners would recognize this to a greater degree.

Oftentimes, the taxes, down zoning, zoning changes, and rules enforced on the free-market owners creates unintended consequences that include less diversity, and an increased demand for additional affordable housing, so the net gain of the legislation has the opposite effect of what it was supposed to have solved.

Many of the struggling free-market owners cave into the economic demands of our system and sell their properties and move into deed-restricted units as their only choice of staying in Aspen. It also leads to a town with more of an “us vs. them” attitude. It does not have to be this way and it would be a good thing if this reality was acknowledged.

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Give these guys/gals a break as it would be best for all in the long run. Thank you.

Mark Kwiecienski

Aspen

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