Letter to the Editor
TBID: no representation!
According to recent news reports, Mammoth Lakes Tourism and an “Exploratory Committee” have been investigating the implementation of a TBID (Tourism Business Improvement District). As I understand it, this TBID would establish a “self assessment” on Mammoth businesses.
The proceeds of the assessment would provide funding to Mammoth Lakes Tourism for their marketing efforts. This “self assessment” would be a % of purchases, just like a sales tax. Figures have been discussed of an additional 1% on TOT, 1 – 1.5% on retail, and 2% on MMSA purchases.
Although it is being called a “self assessment” on businesses, for all practical purposes you can expect it to be passed on to the consumers making purchases. It is unlikely that businesses would pay this “self assessment” out of their profits, especially in this very difficult economy. In essence, it will effectively be a “sales tax” increase. Therefore, to quote a wise man, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck!”
This will be the equivalent of a “sales tax” increase and it will be levied not only on visitors, but also on Mammoth residents.
How will this “sales tax” increase be put into place? Not by a vote of the citizens of Mammoth. All that’s required to put it in place is for the businesses involved to petition (vote) to approve it. Each business’ vote is weighted based on the percent of the total assessment that business will contribute. Thus, the bigger the business and their contribution, the more their vote will count. Once 50 plus one percent of the weighted votes approve it, the TBID is formed and all businesses in that category will participate.
For the citizens of Mammoth, this amounts to TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION — they get no vote in the matter!
To have a bona fide sales tax increase put into place would require a 2/3 vote of the citizens of Mammoth. For all practical purposes, the TBID circumvents the vote of the people of Mammoth and implements a “sales tax” increase without their approval.
If the TBID is approved, you will be paying additional “sales tax” on many of the things you buy. The citizens of Mammoth deserve a chance to vote on the TBID “sales tax” increase before it’s implemented. NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!