Aspen voters weigh tax increase on short-term rentals this November |

Aspen voters weigh tax increase on short-term rentals this November

Snowmass voters approved ballot measure 2C.
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The city of Aspen is asking voters to consider ballot issue 2A: Short Term Rental Tax, an increase on short-term rental properties, in the general election Nov. 8.

The excise tax would impose a 5% tax on nightly room rates for STRs with lodge-exempt permits (STR-LE) and owner-occupied permits (STR-OO). For second-home owners or investment properties (STR-C), 2A proposes 10%. 

Only the three designations of STR permit-holding properties would be subject to the tax. Time-shares, hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts would not fall under the purview of 2A. 

The tax increase is expected to bring in $9,140,000 in revenue for the city. The city would allocate at least 70% of that money to fund affordable housing projects. The remaining 30% would go to infrastructure repair and environmental protection initiatives. 

Pitkin County election officials recently sent out this election’s TABOR Notice outlining voter-submitted pros and cons for the ballot issue. 

Those in support of the tax increase referenced the need to fund more affordable housing in Aspen. One summarized submission reads: “The pandemic years ushered in real estate price increases and disruption regionally, an influx of remote workers out-pricing the local workforce, the second home market out-bidding the working class, and STRs replacing long-term rentals.”

Additionally, supporters say, the tax would limit the ubiquity of short-term rentals in Aspen and allow space for more affordable, long-term rentals for the local community. And the money allocated to environmental initiatives is a big plus for proponents of 2A. 

Those against the tax increase call out 2A for punishing condominiums for the citywide problem of an affordable-housing shortage: “As a community, we should work together to confront this issue and share in the costs, instead of singling out one sector of the economy. Passing this tax will hurt Aspen’s economy, including small businesses and restaurants that depend on visitor spending to provide jobs.”

Another criticism voters levied against 2A is the competitive disadvantage Aspen would experience with the tax increase in comparison to Vail or Snowmass. If affordable housing is such a desperate problem, a voter wondered, then why would 30% of revenue from 2A go to something other than affordable housing?

If passed, ballot issue 2A will take effect on May 1, 2023.

A comprehensive list of pro and con opinions on ballot measure 2A: Short-Term Rental Tax is available on the TABOR Notice mailed out by Pitkin County election officials.

Voters registered in the appropriate precinct can vote on ballot issue 2A in the general election on Nov. 8. A sample ballot is available at the Pitkin County Elections website


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