Another Car Rental Tax Proposal Goes to Voters

Voters in Hayden, Colo. will soon vote on a 3.5 percent rental car tax increase at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, according to the Craig Daily Press.

The tax measure, Referendum 2B would generate $143,500 next year, based on rental car figures from 2008. Also on the ballot is a lodging tax increase. Supporters of the taxes say they would increase revenues without burdening Hayden residents because mostly visitors would pay both taxes, Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said.

Revenue generated from the car rental tax likely would be dedicated toward capital projects and reserves, Martin said. Capital projects could include street work. The revenue wouldn’t be dedicated to town operations. The car rental tax would take affect Jan. 1, 2010.

Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said he didn’t know if increased rental car taxes would affect tourist visits next year. But he obtained figures showing that the airport’s car rental fees and taxes — currently at 33 percent of the cost to rent a car— would increase to 37 percent if the tax is approved, representing one of highest in the state.

Business at the airport’s Avis Rent A Car was down 30 percent in 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. Kay Wiltfong, who operates the Avis site, said her husband operates the Budget Rent A Car site at the airport, and it was down 28 percent from the same period. Advanced booking numbers for the upcoming ski season are looking “very bleak,” she said. Implementing a tax increase wouldn’t help, she insisted.

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