AUGUST REPORT – From the TAR Government Affairs Department

AUGUST REPORT – From the TAR Government Affairs Department

This Article was written By Nick Bokone, TAR Government Affairs Consultant

August Article, 2018 | August 7, 2018

Telluride Plans Tax Referendum for Affordable Housing

Telluride Town Council is moving forward with two tax increase proposals that will likely reach the November ballot.

The first proposal will likely raise property tax in Telluride by 2 mils and would go towards funding affordable housing projects in town. The second would place a 5% increase on sales tax of short term rentals with the money again going to affordable housing.

The Telluride Association of REALTORS® how much has serious concerns about both of these proposals. Specifically, there have not been any concrete plans made yet for what the money would do if the proposal passes. In essence, it feels like town council wants to pass a proposal in order to simply “do something”, without knowing how to spend the money being raised with the higher tax. There’s also concern about how much this tax increase would affect commercial properties, since Colorado law provides for property taxes to be levied at 4 times as much as residential properties.

The sales tax increase on short term rentals would, if approved, give Telluride the highest tax rate of any of our competitors and neighboring resort markets. It is unclear how much of a negative impact that could have on the local tourist driven economy in future years.

Finally, for years we have been promised regional discussions and solutions to a problem that is felt by our entire region. The lack of affordable housing is not just a Telluride problem, it’s a problem in Mountain Village and down valley and all across the county and region. We’re skeptical of a tax increase that doesn’t address the problem on a regional basis, doesn’t provide for how the money will be used, and raises our tax rates to the highest in the area.

Town Council will next consider these issues at an August 14th meeting.

President Signs Flood Insurance Extension into Law

NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall released the following statement after last month’s U.S. Senate vote on legislation extending flood insurance funding. The bill, which cleared the House last week, was signed into law by the President soon afterwards.

“We applaud lawmakers for taking this needed action to prevent disruptions to closings in thousands of communities across the country. Although the National Flood Insurance Program will be extended through November 30 when signed into law, the NFIP is in desperate need of reforms that will make it solvent and sustainable in the long term. The National Association of Realtors will continue fighting for these reforms as the next NFIP reauthorization discussions loom later this year.”

REALTORS® had been urging extension of the program for months. More than 129,000 REALTORS®, or roughly 15 percent of the membership of NAR, sent letters to their senators/members of Congress in support of the extension.

For further information on NAR’s efforts to extend and reform the National Flood Insurance Program, please visit this link, or contact Wes Shaw at 202-383-1193 or wshaw@realtors.org

Endangered Species Act Regulatory Reforms Proposed

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have proposed changes to regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act.

This proposal is in alignment with NAR policy related to reducing administrative and regulatory burdens, making regulations more transparent and accountable, shifting more responsibility to state and local governments where appropriate and encouraging private sector engagement to protect species and preserve habitat.

The proposed revisions would:

  • Address use of “occupied” vs. “unoccupied” habitat in designating critical habitat for species
  • Detail circumstances where designation of critical habitat would not be prudent
  • Interpret the phrase “foreseeable future” regarding future threats to imperiled species
  • Ensure that standards used to delist species are consistent with those used for listing decisions

There is a sixty day public comment period in place now on the proposed changes.

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