Letter: Vote “yes” on Eagle County ballot measure 1A

There are reasons why Aspen’s employee-housing program has been around for more than 40 years. Decades of foresight by the community was what started it. A steady stream of funding is what’s kept it going. The Aspen and Pitkin County real estate transfer taxes dedicated to employee housing are the envy of municipalities around the country, and particularly of other resort communities in Colorado, a state where real estate transfer taxes were made explicitly illegal by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in 1992. (Aspen and Pitkin County’s RETTs predate TABOR and are therefore grandfathered in.)

With a housing crisis that was once an upper-valley issue now spread valleywide, finding money for projects in communities beyond Aspen and Snowmass isn’t easy. Yet it’s critical, which is why we encourage all Eagle County voters to support ballot measure 1A. The measure’s passage will green light a 0.3 percent sales tax that will generate an estimated $4.5 million to $5.4 million a year for workforce housing, including in the portion of Eagle County located in the Roaring Fork Valley. Groceries are exempt from the tax, making it less likely to overburden families who only spend money on essentials. And it is precisely those families — and many more in Eagle County communities — who will benefit from the tax long-term, as housing becomes increasingly unaffordable for even households earning well above the state’s average income.

Eagle County ballot measure 1A creates stable communities for the future. That’s an easy goal to get behind. So please vote “yes” on 1A.

Matt Hamilton

Director of Sustainability

Michael Miracle

Director of Community Engagement

Aspen Skiing Co.