Cooney: Save Aspen, tax STRs |

Cooney: Save Aspen, tax STRs

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Affordability in Aspen is a train that has left the station. A Super 8 and an Applebee’s at 1A would help instead of a Doronin uber-luxe Aman resort that would make the Little Nell look like a two-star in Qatar. Elizabeth Milias, clutch your pearls.

But, one thing Aspenites who understand that we don’t need more short-term rentals in neighborhoods can do is to vote yes on ballot 2A for a short-term rental tax. Once rentals provided houseowners in the community with extra income. That simplicity became squeezed by rising property values, leading to a casino of flipping and fractionals, which has now all been eclipsed by six-digit monthly rentals for LLC-owned monster homes and five-digit rental nights for VRBO-type apartments. 

Taxing runaway STRs makes sense because they’ll keep raising their rates as long as demand will pay. Affordable housing and infrastructure deserve a taxable share of this speculative windfall, as we wait for a healthy market correction. 

With today’s stratospheric STR prices, the tax would be sofa change for people whose jets burn up to $1,800 in fuel per hour, while lower-rung VRBO-style visitors remain plentiful. Therefore, the argument that an STR tax will hurt tourism is hollow. The extra tax might even stall price hikes.

Only those with a willful lack of the obvious can’t admit that we don’t need more tourism. Instead, it’s time to pay attention to saving the remnants of community. Vote yes on 2A to tax STRs.

Tim Cooney